Poke Munch expanding to former BLK MKT Eats space near Saint Louis University

The wave of poke restaurants in recent years continues to roll in: Later this month, Poke Munch plans to open a new location in the former BLK MKT Eats space at 9 S. Vandeventer, on the border of the Central West End and Midtown.

The Concept

Poke Munch owner Nadeem Hosseini had been looking for an opportunity near Saint Louis University, and when he heard that BLK MKT Eats would be vacating its flagship store in conjunction with a move to Maplewood, he jumped at the opportunity. “[BLK MKT Eats] closed in late March, and I signed a lease on April 1,” he says.

Hosseini, whose concept is somewhat similar to BLK MKT Eats, hopes to capitalize on the built-in market. The Poke Munch menu currently includes bowls, rolls, and several sides, including tofu fries, shiitake mushroom pot stickers, tempura shrimp, and chicken tempura tenders. He may scale up the menu to include sushi nachos (“I’m already getting inquiries,” he says), as well as several student-targeted items, including chicken and waffles.

At roughly 1,000 square feet, the new space doesn’t allow for many bells and whistles, Hosseini notes. The focal point will be an image of the Main Fury bowl, a graphic interpretation of the mural at the Creve Coeur location.

The Background—and Future

When Hosseini and chef-partner James Choi opened the flagship Poke Munch in 2018, it was loaded with innovations, including curved digital ordering boards and modular Nanoleaf “fish lights” on the face of the order counter that pulsed to either the playlist or ambient noise.

Following Creve Coeur, a second Poke Munch opened in Edwardsville (1063 Route 157, Suite 12) in June 2022, a space he now shares with a second location of Spoonful Desserts (also based in Creve Coeur), which effectively expands its offerings to include bingsu (the national dessert of Korea), as well as milk teas and fruit teas.

In March of this year, Hosseini opened a Poke Munch ghost kitchen at The Hill Food Co. (2360 Hampton), giving him a delivery (within a 3-mile radius) and pickup presence in the central corridor.

Regarding the future, Hosseini says he’d like to “expand the ghost kitchen menu beyond poke,” and teases that a fifth Poke Munch is planned “out west.”

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