An ancient Hawaiian delicacy parks perfectly on Nantucket.
Nantucket Poke is the newest and freshest addition to the food truck phenomenon that has been rolling onto the island in recent years. Driven by lifelong Nantucket denizen Devon Wright and his co-founder, Chef Alla Rockwell, this two-wheeled wonder is serving up an ancient Hawaiian fish delicacy that pairs perfectly with summer. For the uninitiated, poke is a raw fish salad that combines sushi-grade tuna, salmon, shrimp, octopus or tofu with fresh veggies, fruits, rice, sauces and other garnishes. When enjoyed at Cisco Beach, the brewery or even in your backyard for a private party, Nantucket Poke instantly makes you realize what the island was missing for far too long.
Those trying poke for the first time on Nantucket have Wright to thank. The son of Spyder Wright, the legendary surfboard designer, Wright has always dreamed of starting a business on the island but took a circuitous route to get there. For seventeen years, he produced high-end commercials in New York City and Los Angeles, working with the likes of Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Jay-Z and dozens of professional athletes and car companies. During those years, Wright became good friends with Rockwell, who runs a catering company and catered his sets. Between shoots, Wright told Rockwell about his beloved Nantucket and his vision of someday launching a unique food truck concept there. Last fall, they joined forces and got the wheels turning on Wright’s vision, which puts Rockwell’s cuisine front and center.
Raised in Malibu, Rockwell got her culinary start at critically acclaimed restaurants in Los Angeles such as Nobu, Ink and the Michelin-starred Piccolo, before launching her own catering company. Between gigs, she and her husband, who, like Wright, produces commercials, would fly off to Hawaii for quick vacations. During those trips, Rockwell pieced together her own approach to poke. “My secret recipe for rice is a hundred years old,” she says. “It takes six hours to produce each day.” Every morning, Rockwell sources veggies from Bartlett’s Farm and fresh, sushi-grade fish from Sayle’s Seafood. Her toppings come from Sid Wainer & Son, a hundred-year-old curator and distributor of the finest specialty produce. “We’re making our bowls and dishes in the true Hawaiian tradition,” Rockwell says. “It’s not so much about how it looks on the plate—messy, all thrown together—it’s all about how it tastes.”
And man, oh man, does it taste good! Ordering through the window, you begin by selecting a base of spring mix green salad, seaweed salad or Rockwell’s secret signature rice. Next, you pick a protein—tuna, salmon, shrimp, octopus or tofu—followed by toppings. Last comes the sauce: yuzu citrus, spicy mayo, wasabi soy or the house sauce. For those who might not be in the mood for poke, Rockwell recently added ramen to their offerings, nicely rounding out their menu with this Japanese staple.
Every aspect of Nantucket Poke is prepared in-house, which is to say inside their custom-designed mobile kitchen that Wright parks daily at either Cisco Brewers, Nobadeer Beach or Cisco Beach. The team also has an agreement with the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club, enabling them to use the club’s professional kitchen for daily food prep.
Spend just a couple of minutes chatting with Wright and Rockwell and their passion for serving the Nantucket community comes through—not just with their poke, but with their proceeds. “‘Foodie philanthropists’ is what we call ourselves,” Wright says. “We are proud to say we donate a portion of our profits to local organizations on Nantucket that focus on land and ocean conservation. Making a difference one bowl at a time.” So log on to nantucketpoke.com and click the “Truck Locator” tab to see where Wright and Rockwell are parked today. One bowl from their fresh food truck and you’ll agree that this ancient Hawaiian fish delicacy is here to stay.