By: Jessie Monsivais Photos by: Laurie Lyng
The Coastal Bend offers several seafood dining options, from sushi to fried fish. But that doesn’t mean the options are exhausted; a beloved Hawaiian dish is bringing new flavor and fresh ingredients to the coastal community. Poke, pronounced like “okay” with a “P,” is swiftly flourishing around South Texas. Padre Poke, a local option that opened in the fall of 2019, has quickly become a staple eatery on the Island, offering fresh, healthy food at a quick pace.
Owner and private chef Jessica Chappell is the mastermind behind the delicious recipes at Padre Poke. With an extensive background in the food and beverage industry as well as custom menu design, Chappell said her reason for opening Padre Poke was the increase in demand for healthy fast food.
“I came here for a hotel contract, which was supposed to be a six-month contract, but I ended up seeing a need for hospitality and a food change in the area,” says Chappell. “I really got a vibe for people’s excitement. People on the Island really want a fresh and healthy restaurant.”
She continues, “I grew up hunting, and always ate fresh and healthy, delicious food. I wanted to bring that experience and raw nature to South Texas. Here, I can still go hunting and fishing and bring those things to my restaurant and other business, the Ruby Ladle.”
The beachy, modern, local-artist-inspired eatery sets an upbeat and vibrant tone for those who dine in. Although the restaurant is designed to be fast, customers can eat next to a 30-foot octopus painting on the wall, or pull up in a golf cart for takeout to be enjoyed on the beach.
From fresh-cut fish and crawfish etouffee to chef-made house sauces, Padre Poke guarantees fresh cuisine every day. Its signature dishes consist of four colorful and tasty no-brainer options designed for customers to order without much thought.
“I created a menu that would be diverse – for anyone in the family or in a group,” Chappell says.
The classic poke bowl consists of fresh-cut ahi tuna, green onions, cucumber, sesame oil, and Padre Poke sauce marinated together, topped with wakame. The Hermosa includes kale, rice, salmon, tamagoyaki, crab, mango, pico, cucumber, and edamame, topped with a savory coconut sauce and pineapple sweet chili sauce.
“The Hermosa is inspired by my family that lives in Hermosa Beach,” Chappell says. “It’s a refreshing and upbeat place. These ingredients remind me of being there.”
The Volcano is as hot as it sounds: a deliciously spicy poke bowl with rice, spicy tuna, and spicy crab, served with cilantro, jalapenos, crispy garlic, and onions, topped with a habanero citrus ponzu. Inspired by popular orders, the Tex Mex Bowl includes beef, chicken, and shrimp, with black beans, corn, tortilla chips, jalapenos, and cheese, topped with avocado, bacon, pico, citrus habanero ponzu, homemade lemon pepper ranch, and Hot Cheetos.
All the poke sauce flavorings are made in-house. Padre Poke also offers gluten-free soy options, including the staple dressing for all dishes, the Lemon Pepper Ranch, which is prepared with almond milk for a refreshing, clean flavor.
Founded with the simple belief of offering fresh, high-quality ingredients, Padre Poke uses all of the finest elements of sushi and combines them in an easy-to-eat package. The versatile flavor and natural ingredients come together to form a delicious, wholesome meal. With Padre Poke selections, customers can feel good about what they’re eating. So go ahead, let your tastebuds run wild!
Contact: 14493 Unit E, SPID, Corpus Christi, TX