New restaurant opens by mass shooting site

Ever since the shooting in July 2017, the building has remained mostly vacant. However, that didn't scare away the owners of Ohia Poke.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – A new restaurant offering a different type of cuisine to the Little Rock food scene has opened up and it’s underneath an unlikely location.

Ohia Poke is located on sixth street and underneath the now vacant Power Ultra Lounge where over 20 people were shot in July.

Most of the building has remained vacant ever since.

"I don't think you can judge a location based on one incident,” Manager Douglas Bennett II said.

Bennett said the building's location had no effect on the owners.

"Shootings happen all over the place and you can't disgrace a place for it just because of it,” Bennet said.

He said the owners wanted to open up close to the business district, so people who work downtown can easily come grab a bite. 

Some customers agree the location does not matter.

"It's totally two different types of businesses, so it shouldn't affect your judgment coming to eat at a restaurant,” John Dang said.

If you have never heard of Poke, that’s because it is newer to central Arkansas.

“There's been a lot of hype about Poke restaurants. It's actually been very popular in bigger cities,” Bennett said.

So, what exactly is Poke?

"Poke is a dish from Hawaii and it's deconstructed Sushi,” Bennett said. "You come in and pick your base which would be a brown rice or white rice base. You can pick your protein like crab, tuna salmon, scallops, shrimp, chicken. Then you can top it off with things like avocados, carrots, edamame.”

Bennet says opening this restaurant is good for the food scene and for downtown Little Rock.

"I think it brings more culture to Arkansas and it gives people more options to try things,” he said. "I would like to see downtown brought back to life because it's a great area and it needs it."

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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