New fast-casual Asian fusion restaurant slated for downtown Harrisburg

The sushi burrito, one of the latest Asian fusion food mashups, is getting a branding makeover as the pokerrito, and you can try it this fall in downtown Harrisburg.

At new fast-casual Asian restaurant Freshido, which could open in late September or early October at the corner of Third and Market streets in Strawberry Square, poke bowls and pokerritos will be the star attractions.

Poke bowls, pronounced “POH-keh,” are a popular Hawaiian dish that incorporate cubed raw fish that is served over a bowl of rice with other seasonings and vegetables. It’s like deconstructed sushi.

Freshido owners Shawn You and Benson Chan said the new restaurant will be similar to a Chipotle where you place your order at the counter and bowls can be customized to add healthier options such as multigrain rice or zucchini noodles. There also will be signature bowls and recommended mix-and-match items that should pair well together for people new to the concept, they said. 

Taking it a step further, the pokerrito will blend the intensely flavorful ingredients of sushi and roll them like a burrito. But instead of tortillas, oversized sheets of nori are used.

Amy Spangler

The menu for Freshido is still being finalized, but the plan also is to offer Korean bowls and appeal to people who don’t like raw fish and want cooked proteins. Korean bowls are often served with varieties of cold vegetables and other toppings.

“It’s the perfect concept. You can get in and out pretty quickly,” said You, who is an owner in Shogun, an Asian fusion restaurant in Lower Paxton Township, and Kondu at the Harrisburg Mall.

Kondu specializes in sushi burritos and teppanyaki entrees, which are fried-rice hibachi dishes.

Freshido would take Kondu to the “next level,” You said.

The owners recently leased the old Plum Sport space from Harristown Enterprises. Bo Mangam of Landmark Commercial Realty represented the new tenant.

A construction plan to fit out the 2,200-square-foot restaurant space still needs to be submitted to the city for approval.

You said he anticipates about 50 to 60 seats, with a few tables potentially outside. The design will have an industrial feel with the use of metals and reclaimed wood.

The two owners, who are 32 and 29, respectively, both grew up around family restaurants. They said their goal is to reinvent the Asian dining experience and give patrons a better feel for different cultures through their food.

In addition to the downtown Harrisburg location, they already are looking at real estate for a second Freshido restaurant on Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey. That location could open in 2018 or 2019.

The Harrisburg location should appeal to the large volume of state workers and other daytime foot traffic in the capital city. Downtown Harrisburg also has been attracting more people who want to live in the city.

A Hershey restaurant would likely pull in more visitors who are coming to the area for the Hershey attractions.

Franchising the quick-service concept is the ultimate goal, they said.

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