Lunching in Little Rock: Poke Hula


In our Lunching in Little Rock blog series, Michael Kirkpatrick will explore and review the city’s best restaurants – all in time to get back to the office. This week, Michael ate lunch at Poke Hula with Ryan Merritt-McGehee.

How are those New Year’s resolutions going? We’re trying to do better at our house, cutting carbs and getting more exercise. It’s the end of the month, things are getting hard, and bread is becoming increasingly appetizing. Last night I fantasized about stacking several pieces of sourdough together and taking a giant bite. If you need some help, motivation, or a complete plan, my guest at lunch today, Ryan Merritt-McGehee, has what you need. Ryan owns and operates Clean Eatery, a food plan, prep and delivery service. Clean Eatery has a new menu every week with paleo, gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian and pegan options to fit all sorts of needs. Where does the man with the meal plan eat? Ryan introduced me to the recently opened Poke Hula and changed my perception of health food. 

I had to look up what a poke “POH-keh” bowl was when Ryan suggested Poke Hula. Thanks to the Internet and the informative staff at the restaurant, I now know that it is basically a fish salad or deconstructed sushi. Hello, new favorite health food! Poke Hula buys all its ingredients fresh and it shows. When you walk in, you are welcomed with smiling faces and their beautiful display of fresh fish, veggies, toppings and sauces. The restaurant is small, but spacious. There are no tables, but there are two bars with stools for dining in. Both Ryan and the staff make deciding what to eat easier. They have build-your-own bowls or five signature bowls. Ryan and I order the Hula House Bowl with tuna, salmon, shrimp, cucumber, green onion, edamame, crab salad, seaweed salad and sriracha sauce. You might read seaweed salad and start to think you’ve made a mistake, but I was proven so wrong. I could eat a bowl of it on its own. Large scoops of all the good stuff you want and you can taste the freshness with every bite. I don’t know the right way to eat a poke bowl, so I just dig in, mixing different tastes and flavors. They are all good and there is no right or wrong way to eat.

Ryan is a wealth of fitness and nutrition knowledge. A former investment banker, Ryan left the world of high stress finance to pursue a cleaner, healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Ultimately, he found that his true calling was helping others achieve their best life through fitness and nutrition. By making the change in himself, he has changed so many other lives for the better.

If your resolutions need a restart, head to Poke Hula for lunch today. No matter your diet, you are going to find something you love. If clean eating is something you want to start, but you aren’t sure how, check out and let Ryan and his team do the hard work for you.

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