After four years of selling Hawaiian snacks out of little cart, Philly’s only Hawaiian food specialists are ready for more. Falling in line with what’s become the preferred method for food truckers, Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca will take their Poi Dog Snack Shop from wheels to walls with a brick-and-mortar at 102 South 21st Street, in the old Rotisseur space.
Aranita tells Eater that much of the brick-and-mortar’s menu will be the same as what she’s been selling from the cart — mochi nori fried chicken, pork belly adobo, spam musubi, etc. — but a larger kitchen means that many of the cart’s daily specials will be available more frequently. And poke — real poke, “not Chipotle-style” build-your-own bowls — will play a main role on Poi Dog’s menu. They’ll open for lunch and dinner, with Hawaiian-style brunch on weekends, which means spam-rice-and-eggs and Okinawan donuts called andagi.
Inside, the shop will seat about 18 with counter seating, but given its proximity to a booming Center City lunch crowd, take-out and catering is still part of the equation — they’re even keeping the cart operational for those purposes. They won’t do much to the building except for some cosmetic upgrades, but they’re converting the basement into a catering kitchen. Expect the restaurant to open in early 2017.
For a preview of what's to come, head to East Passyunk's ITV for a Poi Dog pop-up from noon to 4 p.m on Saturday, December 10. The menu (below) is a little taste of what they'll be doing up in Rittenhouse—plus ITV’s bartenders will pour your some fantastic drinks to pair.
• Pork Belly Adobo with atchara
• Mochi Nori Fried Chicken with togarashi-yuzu mayo
• Spicy Ahi Poke
• Purple Yam and Pancetta Gaugee
• An assortment of bibingkas and butter mochi