Saturday, February 27, 2021

Home Eat & Drink Laid Back Poke Shack brings Hawaii to Salt Lake

Laid Back Poke Shack brings Hawaii to Salt Lake

The notion that we cannot get fresh seafood in Salt Lake City is antiquated.

“If this were 40, 50 years ago, sure. But the way logistics work and how we can get things shipped around, I don’t think it’s strange to have fresh fish in a desert,” says Jimmy Zouras, who along with his wife Deanna, owns and operates Laid Back Poke Shack in Holladay. “We get our fish directly from the Honolulu fish auction and it comes fresh three times a week.”

Zouras’ family opened Gourmandise the Bakery in the early 90s. But for his latest business venture, Zouras switched his focus from French pastries to fresh fish in the form of the Hawaiian delicacy, poke (pronounced poh-keh), and opened up Laid Back Poke Shack in February.

In the Hawaiian language, poke is a verb that means to cut or to slice. A basic poke consists of cubed, raw ahi (yellow fin tuna) marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed and chili pepper.

But don’t simply call it sushi.

“We’ve had people come in who try to compare it to sushi. Some people come in expecting a sushi-style experience but that’s not it,” Zouras says. “This is poke and poke is something different.”

Poke has appeared on menus of several sushi restaurants in Salt Lake City as an appetizer in recent years. In Hawaii, however, poke is so pervasive that many grocery stores (even chains like Costco) keep several different flavors of it in stock.

With Laid Back Poke Shack, the Zouras’ tried to recreate something they experienced and loved in The Aloha State. Their shop offers a variety of poke, including ahi, salmon and tako (or octopus).

“We put this together so we could come get poke. It started off very selfishly,” Zouras quips.

Their affinity for poke is spreading and Zouras says the reception for Laid Back Poke Shack has been great so far. But some people are still skeptical of seafood in Salt Lake.

“We’ve come across a few challenges as far as perceptions but the only thing we can do is to let them try it,” Zouras says.

Laid Back Poke Shack is in Holladay, at 6213 S Highland Dr. They are open from 11-8 Tuesday-Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday.

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠

A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬

Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @oquirrhslc for Betting the Bottom Dollar⁠

When COVID-19 hit Salt Lake City, Oquirrh co-owners Andrew and Angelena Fullers' dream was seriously damaged. But the Fullers keep trying to follow the rules. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @hearth_and_hill for Opening Doors⁠

As the pandemic ravages independent restaurants, Hearth and Hill has reaffirmed its commitment to small businesses in Park City and used its large dining room as an informal gathering space for the city. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠

A wind storm #tbt for your feed today. 🌬️🛹⁠

2020 was a long, long, loooong year, so we asked local photographers to share what the new normal looked like through their eyes. The link is in our bio!

Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

Read the full story through the link in bio.⁠

📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism

What’s your favorite park in Utah? ...