KANSAS CITY NORTH — Just outside of Liberty in the Shoal Creek shopping area a couple blocks from Woodneath Library Center, Freestyle Poké has opened.
Jeremiah Dupin, who grew up in Gladstone and moved to the Shoal Creek area when his sister was younger, understands the Northland and where there are areas ripe for development. About a month ago, he opened Freestyle Poké at 8708 N. Flintlock Road, his third location in 13 months. His other two are in Kansas City’s River Market, where he lives across the street; and Overland Park, Kansas.
Dupin has been a restaurateur abroad in places such as Dubai. The Marine veteran served in Iraq and has traveled to 60 countries.
“I have always watched Chipotle and watched the diners who go in and select what they want,” he said. “I realized that I could mirror that and provide different options, too.”
Going into the restaurant, there is a bar full of ingredients from what is labeled as the “base” or foundation items such as quinoa, zucchini noodles and cauliflower rice. As the diner moves down the line, there are proteins to add including raw and cooked salmon, tofu and shredded chicken. There are also mix-ins such as tomatoes, snow peas, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and mung beans. There’s also marinades, toppings and a final sauce.
“I would figure there are millions of combinations,” Dupin said. “As a restaurant of choice, the poké concept has been around for about six or seven years. I know we are the largest in the Kansas City area. We are gluten free and have ingredients that fit most diets from vegan to keto.”
Poké is Hawaiian and according to food historians, the recent incarnation has been around since the 1970s. It is served either as an appetizer or main course and is staple of Hawaiian cuisine.
Along with the seemingly infinite number of choices, diners can also try signature bowls. Dupin’s favorite is Ride the Wave, made with salmon, truffle yuzu ponzu, avocado, sweet potatoes and spring onion.
“Ride the Wave is also a bit of my personal motto,” he said. “It’s that spiritual idea of riding the wave of life. As a bowl, it’s got some of my favorite ingredients.”
Along with healthy food options, the Freestyle Poké founder and his team embrace several core values such as helping each other grow and being compassionate.
That stems to their green goals. The materials used in the restaurant are either recyclable or compostable.
“I want to differentiate our restaurants,” Dupin said. “I want to make a positive and bigger impact on our environment.”
Even the mural on the southern wall reflects this as local artist Sike captured an old prophecy from 1490 about the eagle and condor which speak to human societies splitting into two paths. The path of the condor is the path of heart, intuition and of the feminine. The path of the eagle is the path of the mind, the industrial and the masculine.
Dupin is hoping Freestyle Poké contributes to some of the balance to the planet.
“At least as a business, we can help take care of nature some too,” he said.
As another way to give back to the local community, the local location offers weekly yoga. To learn more and for dates, visit the location’s Facebook page by searching “freestylepokely” on the social media platform.