Poke Craze in Eagle
The fresh and vibrant poke bowl dishes at the new Mauka Poke Bar in Eagle are selling out daily
Mauka Poke Bar in Eagle has only been open for two weeks, but it is already bringing in more traffic than owners Kira and Stephen Barczy ever imagined.
“It’s been crazy, to be completely honest with you,” Stephen said. “I would say more than double what we originally projected. Pretty much every day I’ve increased my orders by 30 percent, and we’ve continued to sell out.”
The Barczys opened their new restaurant on Oct. 9, and it didn’t take long for a poke craze to start sweeping the valley.
“We literally can’t keep up with the demand,” Kira said. “We’ve been selling out every last cube of poke almost daily. We think we’re getting ahead of the game by doubling our order, and then sales just double with it. It’s a good problem to have, and we’re just trying to figure it out.”
Mauka Poke Bar launched with no marketing efforts beyond an Instagram account, and the rapid escalation in sales is all thanks to satisfied customers spreading the news via word of mouth. Pop in for one of their authentic Hawaiian-style bowls, and you’re likely to join their growing fan base.
Support Local Journalism
A taste of Hawaii in the mountains
Kira was born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and she met Stephen while he was living and working on the island for several years after graduating college. The couple has been in Eagle for the last five years, working various roles in the restaurant and event planning industries, and they saw an opportunity to bring the classic Hawaiian cuisine they love to the mountain town they now call home.
“I ate poke probably four days a week living in Maui,” Stephen said. “It is a great opportunity in the valley, because it’s such a healthy and active community and it’s tough to find light, fresh, healthy food around here. So we thought we would bring a little Hawaii to the mountains.”
The word “Mauka” means “mountain” in Hawaiian, and although we are far from the ocean, Mauka Poke Bar features an authentic menu and preparation style that maintains the freshness and flavor of traditional island-style poke.
Fresh fish is flown into Denver and delivered to the restaurant every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and is prepared and served within a day or two of its arrival. The restaurant serves three types of raw fish, sourced from premium locations around the globe.
The ahi tuna, which serves as the base for the Hawaiian-style, Limu Limu and Spicy Aoili poke flavors, is flown in from Japan. The hamachi fish, a Pacific yellowtail that Mauka complements with a ginger wasabi flavor, is sourced from Australia and the salmon is Verlasso salmon, which is sustainably raised and farmed in Patagonia.
“We tried out several different vendors, tasted it all and wanted the best quality,” Kira said. “We have the highest grade fish that we can get, and it’s about as good as you can get environmentally.”
In addition to the raw fish bases, Mauka also offers cooked shrimp poke and a vegan option made from tofu. Those who want to build their own bowl select a size ranging from one to three poke scoops, a rice or mixed greens base, and a poke flavor of their choosing. After that, you can get creative choosing from the 25 fresh veggie and crisp toppings and four sauces to build a bowl that is unique to your flavor palette.
Those who are new to poke or want to try a chef-designed combination can choose from Mauka’s menu of five signature bowls. Kira and Stephen applied their prior restaurant knowledge and love of cooking to come up with these flavor combinations, and they are each as delectable as they are beautiful.
“It’s been a joint effort,” Kira said. “Lots of tasting and trial and error, but I think we’ve dialed them in. They’re amazing and delicious, and there is a variety so hopefully there will be something for everyone.”
A quick and healthy grab-and-go option
Mauka Poke Bar has a few seating options available in its physical space, but the food is designed to be grab-and-go. With plenty of parking availability on site, Mauka makes it easy to pick up a meal that is quick, healthy and satisfying.
“You can go and have a five-star, fine dining sushi experience, but we wanted something that was grab-and-go,” Kira said. “Living in Eagle, the lunch options are fairly limited. We have a lot of burgers, a lot of pizza and sandwiches – which we love – but we personally don’t want to eat them all the time. It’s a nice little wellness-focused area, so we thought what a perfect spot for a more health-conscious food option.”
The Barczys are still learning how to keep up with the community’s ever-increasing demand for their poke bowls, but they are also looking forward to offering seasonal specials and new poke varieties in the future. Right now, Stephen has his eye on a potential octopus option, and Kira is working on ways to collaborate with local food producers in the valley to create truly unique mountain-style poke flavors.
One thing is for sure: Mauka Poke Bar has met the valley’s desire for fresh, healthy food, and with the success that it has seen in the first two weeks it’s safe to say we can expect many exciting and delicious bowl combinations to come.
For a full menu, visit maukapokebar.com.