Portland is getting its first poke restaurant, which also will be the first in Maine to sell Korean shaved ice.

Anusat Limsitong, the owner of Thai 9 Restaurant in Scarborough and a former sushi chef, will open the new restaurant in March at 658 Congress St., just down from Longfellow Square.

Called Poke Pop, Limistong said, it will be a fast casual restaurant with about 30 seats that will serve “more healthy comfort food” that can be eaten on site or taken home. That includes poke “burritos,” bubble tea and bingsu, a Korean dessert made with sweetened, shaved ice and often covered in fruit toppings. The shaved ice is “like snowflakes,” he said, soft and fluffy.

Poke (pronounced po-KAY) is a Hawaiian dish of cubed, marinated raw fish often served in bowls with vegetables and rice. The concept has become popular in other parts of the country, but has only recently reached Maine. Jimmy Liang opened the Portland area’s first poke restaurant, Big Fin Poke, in Westbrook about a year ago and recently opened a second location in South Portland.

Limsitong said his Portland restaurant will offer something different. His goal, he said, is to target Asian customers with a variety of Asian dishes, “and local people who want to try something new and of good quality.” He said he believes he will be the first restaurateur in Maine to serve bingsu. In his version, the shaved ice will be flavored with things like green tea, and toppings will include fruit such as mango and strawberry.

Instead of alcohol, Limsitong said he will sell kombucha and other more healthful alternatives.


The interior of Poke Pop, located in a space that used to house a salon, is being redesigned by Windham architect Christopher Delano. According to Delano’s website, the interior will include vertical-grain bamboo tables, counters and wall and ceiling elements, a porcelain tile floor and pendant lights.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:


Twitter: MeredithGoad

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