- ALOHA, POKE: The marinated raw fish dish of Hawaii has made its way into the same neighborhood that features burgers at the bowling alley and brats next door.
This year, for the first time surely, it became possible to dine on cheese dip and a jumbo onion burger, duck fat fries and smoked venison, and raw tuna and seaweed salad, and then wash it down with a Lagunitas Czech Pilsner without having to go outside a three-block perimeter. Bowl, too.
That's because the Dust Bowl Lanes and Lounge bowling alley at 315 E. Capitol Ave. and sister restaurant Fassler Hall at 311 E. Capitol opened within striking distance of Poke Hula's Hawaiian bowls, at 425 E. Third St.
That the McNellie Group's Dust Bowl and Fassler Hall would come to Little Rock has been known since early 2016. The cozy, retro eight-lane alley, complete with wooden lanes and backdrops salvaged from an old bowling alley in Oklahoma, took the place of the M.M. Eberts American Legion Post building. Fassler, which has a beer garden outside and beer hall seating inside, took over the Paragon Printing Building.
But Poke Hula just popped up on the dining scene, pushing aside Taco Beer Burrito to dish up marinated raw fish salads. Amazingly, poke (pronounced po-kay, meaning "to chop") Hula got competition almost immediately from Ohia Poke across the Main Street divide, at 220 W. Sixth St. (Lulav's previous haunt).
That none of the above are hurting for business says something about the diversity of tastes — or the increasing urbanity — of downtown Little Rock. Or something.