LemonShark Poké: The new kid on Main Street


Lemon Shark has almost a dozen sauce options and Adia Munoz is more than happy to offer her favorite recommendations. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Anyone approaching LemonShark Poké might have the initial thought, “this place looks pretty cool, must be new.” As viewers get closer they’ll see a logo with a shark’s head popping up, similar to the infamous “Jaws” poster. One might think, “can I get some shark from here?” LemonShark Poké have a lot of exotic seafood, but no shark, at least not yet.

It was a vacation to San Luis Obispo that would lead Chico State alum Camie Poyner to open LemonShark Poké in downtown Chico. Poyner has lived in Chico since she was 18 and has been wanting to open a restaurant for years.

The sticker that welcomes you as you enter into Lemon Shark to order your poké bowl. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Poké is a Hawaiian dish consisting of diced raw fish, usually in a bowl, combined with other ingredients like rice, vegetables and soy sauce. Most poké outside of Hawaii is heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine, so that’s where the sushi, rice and soy sauce come in.

LemonShark Poké is a chain that is spread throughout the U.S. and is mostly concentrated in California. Poyner mentioned that she would love to open more of them down the road and she cited Meriam Park as an ideal location for a second one.

The spicy tuna crispy rice is one of the bite-size appetizers offered at Lemon Shark Poké. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

After trying poké for the first time she knew that it would be the perfect kind of restaurant to open in Chico.

It also gave Poyner, as she put it, the opportunity to give back to the community. Students who go into LemonShark Poké can get a free drink with their food and they also have deals on Pocket Points. Poyner also said that she wants to get involved in fundraisers to further benefit the students of Chico.

The restaurant itself, located on Main Street, has a friendly atmosphere. The workers understand that most people going in haven’t tried poké before and they’re happy to explain certain dishes and suggest combinations of ingredients. The bowls are made right in front of you so a customer can easily choose the specific things they want. The ingredients all taste fresh and I was surprised at how much food was packed into one bowl.

There’s plenty of sushi in Chico to choose from, but poké tastes different enough for it to feel distinct. Being able to choose every ingredient that goes into a bowl is a nice option. It makes sure that no customer ends up with something they didn’t want to eat.

It’s not the perfect place to eat if you’re a student on a budget. That being said, being able to get full of a meal with raw fish without having to pay $20 or more is a welcome contrast to most sushi places.

Ulises Duenas can be reached at [email protected] or @OrionUlisesD at Twitter.