HELENA — When you think about eating in Montana, bison, beef, or venison may be the main proteins that come to mind, but one restaurant in Helena is trying to bring more fish to the table.
Fish Bowlz Poke Bar opened on December 20th at 101 N Last Chance Gulch.
"It's definitely a lot of work building that client base, but everyone that has come in here has loved it and has helped spread the word, so it's definitely picking up," said co-owner Jeremiah Hughes.
The restaurant was started by Jeremiah and April Hughes, a married couple from Montana.
He said, "She pretty much opened the business, and I'm kind of the guy that's running it because I'm available to run it at this point in time."
April is a teacher at Helena Christian School, and Jeremiah says he's a jack of all trades.
"Just got out of the military actually last month and kind of looking, hey what am I going to do and I've done construction, I've done pretty much everything that there is to do except for start a restaurant," Hughes said.
Poke is a food that comes from Hawaii. Traditionally, it is diced raw fish, but a poke bowl includes rice or lettuce and lots of toppings, like vegetables, fruits, sauces, and fried garlic or onion flakes.
Hughes said, "Of course, traveling around with the military the last couple of years, I've experienced several different culinary delights and different communities. Of course, one of them is poke, and we don't have poke here, and what better thing to sit on the beach and stare at the mountains and eat some wonderful poke."
His harshest critics are his favorite to serve.
"I had a lady come in last night. She had three kids, and she was like, 'this one is the hardest one to please; I can not please him. So, if you can please him, you've done great.' I went and checked on them like 15 minutes after they were here, and his bowl was completely gone," he said.
The seafood used in the poke bowls is wild caught from Washington state.
Hughes said, "All of our seafood comes from Ocean's Beauty; they supply actually the entire state for seafood. So, trying to get the most direct route and the most fresh seafood here."
All of Fish Bowlz's profits from January will be donated to Helena Christian School to assist with the building of a new school.
Fish Bowlz is open every day except Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm.