Aloha Poké Restaurant Chain Stirs Up Brouhaha in Hawaii
Aloha Poké has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy.
IMAGE COURTESY ALOHA POKÉ
A Chicago poke restaurant chain has stirred up a hornet’s nest of controversy in Hawaii.
Chicago-based Aloha Poké Co., which has locations in six mainland states, ran into trouble for allegedly trying to enforce trademark protection on its name, including reportedly contacting some businesses in Hawaii.
That didn’t sit well with some native Hawaiians, who bristled at the thought of a Chicago company trying to enforce trademark protection over the word “aloha.”
One started a petition on Change.org, demanding that “Aloha Poké Company, LLC … cease and desist from the use of the words ‘Aloha,’ ‘Aloha Poke’ and ‘Poke’ from all current and future businesses.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 22,000 people had signed the petition.
A Hawaii state representative, Kaniela Saito Ing, said in a Facebook posting that “the people who have aloha poke shops in downtown Honolulu … they should be suing you (the Chicago restaurant chain), but they won’t, because that’s not aloha … For those of you in Chicago, those of you in the Midwest, please boycott this guy … please don’t eat his poke.”