A Decade after It Opened in Redondo Beach, Jus’ Poke Is Still Very Much a Family Affair
Off the hook.
Stefanie Honda and her husband were surfing in the South Bay and came out of the water incredibly hungry. They wanted to eat poke, but when Stefanie looked for local places on her phone, nothing came up. That eventually resulted in the establishment of Jus’ Poke, a Redondo Beach restaurant that has been in business for almost 10 years.
Neither Stefanie nor her husband, Jeff, had much business experience. The one advantage they did have was a true understanding of exactly what poke is supposed to be. Stefanie grew up making poke with her Hawaiian dad and did everything from cutting the fish to making sure it marinated properly overnight.
Located at the corner of Beryl Street and Pacific Coast Highway, Jus’ Poke is steeped in family tradition. It’s not just the pictures of Stefanie’s family in the restaurant but also the recipes those family members helped create. Her auntie’s pickled cucumbers are on the menu along with recipes Stefanie was taught by her father, who was taught by his father—a fisherman who always talked about living off the land. The menu embodies that perspective.
“It’s so great we can display pictures of my family. My grandfather loves seeing his picture on the wall,” says Stefanie. “We even have one of my grandpa’s old fishing poles on the wall.”
The restaurant features eight kinds of poke. The most popular are spicy poke, with a spicy sauce and chili peppers, and shoyu poke, with a soy sauce base with green and sweet onions. Drive by most days, and you’ll see a line out the door of patrons waiting to order, as well as customers seated at the few outdoor picnic benches.
“I want to pass this down to my kids and make poke with them—just like my dad did with me.”
“People said we would be cursed in this spot, but that hasn’t been the case. I think if anything it has been a positive,” says Stefanie. “We were so lucky to have a landlord believe in us when so many people didn’t know what poke was.”
It was a risk for a family that had a young daughter and another child on the way. Officially opening in March 2014, Jus’ Poke started with Stefanie working behind the scenes making the poke, while her husband was out front taking orders and checking out customers.
“I was blown away with everyone knowing what poke was. I told my family, and they weren’t sure if enough people knew about poke and would come in. I was shocked,” says Stefanie. “I still remember that first customer and my husband and I just staring at him and watching to see if he was enjoying the food.”
She has moved out of the kitchen and is now behind the scenes taking care of restaurant logistics, payroll and everything in between. Stefanie is proud to be part of a group of women in the South Bay who own their own businesses. “I think it is awesome. I gravitate toward female business owners. I feel like we just get it done.”
Stefanie and her husband are living examples to their kids that hard work and determination pay off. Their daughter attends Redondo Union High School and comes by Jus’ Poke frequently after school since it is just a few blocks away. Their son, who Stefanie was pregnant with when the restaurant opened, also comes by the restaurant and often makes poke with the family.
“I want to pass this down to my kids and make poke with them—just like my dad did with me,” she shares.