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Longtime Bellingham resident opens downtown restaurant with healthy choices in mind

The Bellingham Herald

Nathan Spencer thought bringing a new healthy food option to downtown Bellingham might be popular, but even he was surprised by the opening week response.

Spencer and his wife, Alisha, opened Just Poke & Verve Bowls on April 6 at 201 E. Chestnut St., across the street from La Fiamma. Along with raw and cooked fish, the eatery serves a variety of vegetarian dishes, acai bowls and smoothie drinks. The company serves the food on compostable dishwear.

Spencer, who was born and raised in Bellingham, said he wanted to be in the downtown district partly because he lives nearby, but mainly he’s been impressed at how much it continues to bounce back, particularly in the restaurant scene.

He opened during the kickoff of the Bellingham Farmers Market and said he was overwhelmed by the positive feedback.

“It was great to see people reacting to the food,” he said.

Customers get a chance to pick what they want in their bowl or they can go for signature dishes. According to the menu, Just Poke also has nine sauces to choose from.

While Just Poke is a franchise (with three eateries in the Seattle area), Spencer said they are focused on being a local operation.

Just Poke is planning a grand opening celebration in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. For updates and details, follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.

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