After almost two years since its inauguration, the owner of Wow Poké and Juice, Annie Kim shares her experience running her first restaurant.
By living in California as a college student, Kim has noticed the ultimate growing food trend in the Golden Coast: Poké Bars. The Poké culinary consists mainly of diced raw fish marinated with soy sauce that follows a base of either salad, rice, or quinoa. Although originated in Hawaii, where the fish protein is served in scoops, today’s popularized Poké is a more convenient version of the island’s dish. When moving back to Georgia, Kim innovated when bringing the Hawaiian Cuisine with her, having her business being one of the pioneer Poké restaurants in Gwinnett County: “When I moved to the Atlanta area, there wasn’t a lot of these restaurants. But now they seem to be popping up everywhere.”, Kim said.
Wow Poké and Juice was inaugurated in February 2018, and so far has won four seals by the Gwinnett County Health Inspection, scoring hundreds in every one of them. The atmosphere of the place is welcoming and relaxing, and clients are invited to create their own bowls within the wide range of ingredients: “What you like is always the best bowl in your opinion. We want our clients to feel comfortable and pick what they like.” Maintaining a clean and organized restaurant demands lots of responsibilities, but Kim certainly masters that skill without letting the harsh routine demotivate her passion. When asked for the best part of owning the Poké bar, she did not hesitate when saying: “Serving the good food to people, alongside my fresh-pressed juices!”.
One of Kim’s secrets for the perfect Poké is always cooking with fresh ingredients, a rule by which she follows strictly when preparing the dishes. The decision of working with food that contains less sodium and less sugar comes from the restaurateur’s family background: “My Dad is a diabetic, so we have to keep away from high sugar and sodium. Since my Mother is a Vegan, our menu includes a greater variety of vegan and vegetarian options when comparing to other Poké places in the area.” And because healthy does not mean flavourless, Kim creates combinations with an average of fifteen types of organic sauces to enhance her selected ingredients; sauces are customized depending on the client’s tastes and preferences of sweetness and spice.
If that wasn’t enough, Wow Poké and Juice comes with its own selection of fresh-pressed juices that are squeezed religiously every morning with a Hydraulic Press. For Kim, a normal day starts at 8 a.m. to begin food preparations, bottling, and chilling the different juices. Since the drinks are free from sugars or preservatives, they are better when consumed within three to two days. According to her, the most acclaimed juice it’s the Black Lemonade, made out of activated charcoal that absorbs body toxins. Another favorite is the Sweet Madam, made out of pineapple, apple, strawberry, ginger, and orange. Valuing her client’s well-being, Kim makes sure to remove all the apple seeds that contain cyanide — a toxic substance for the body — as well as peeling out every fruit and vegetable that are mixed with the juices.
Lorenzo Casella is currently a student at Peachtree Ridge High School. He is interning with Gwinnett Magazine through our internship program, Converge. Lorenzo hopes to pursue a career in journalism in order to learn new cultures and travel the world.