Poké Bop, whose fresh seafood bowls and rolls were served with fruit, veggies and other healthy fare, closed last month in downtown Colorado Springs.
The closure came six months after Poké Bop’s first location shuttered on North Academy Boulevard.
Several factors contributed to the decisions to close the locations, said Todd Dorman, a partner, president and chief financial officer with the Halcyon Restaurant Group in Colorado Springs, which owned and operated Poké Bop.
Like many restaurants, Poké Bop was hurt by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
The downtown location, at 9 S. Tejon St., opened in November 2019 just a few months before the pandemic led to state-mandated stay-at-home orders, the temporary closing of restaurant dining rooms and, later, indoor capacity restrictions.
Even as restaurants now have operated without limitations for several months, many downtown employees who worked remotely from their homes during the pandemic haven’t returned to their offices and the downtown Poké Bop suffered as a result, Dorman said. It closed Feb. 7.
“Going downtown, we were really banking on the downtown office workers for lunch,” Dorman said. “And we feel that a lot of them are just not fully back to the office at this point.
“We never really got our footing on the ground early before COVID hit,” he added. “Then we had to shut down. That’s the biggest factor with downtown.”
The North Academy location, just south of Flintridge Drive, opened in summer 2019; it closed Aug. 20.
In addition to the impact of the pandemic, the Poké seafood concept — a Hawaiian favorite — wasn’t necessarily embraced by local residents, Dorman said.
“Unfortunately it seems like people aren’t as health conscious as we thought they would be,” he said. “Most people who’ve had Poké really love it and it’s delicious food and very healthy for you. It’s just unfortunate that it never really got a big following.”
Rising wages and, to a lesser degree, higher food costs also lowered profit margins, Dorman said. As a result, it wasn’t worthwhile to keep the restaurants open, he said.
Two Poké Bops operate in Dallas, but the Halcyon Restaurant Group doesn’t have an ownership stake in those locations.
Halcyon, however, owns and operates two local Border Burger Bars — next to the former Poké Bop on North Academy and on Manitou Avenue in Manitou Springs. The restaurants specialize in a variety of hamburgers and other sandwiches.
Halcyon also recently acquired The District, a restaurant and bar in Denver, Dorman said.