Our Story

Our Story

A Bit About Us.

Lemon Shark Poké began as a collaboration between two lifelong friends Tobi Miller and Richard Gottlieb. The duo has been immersed in Hawaiian culture for nearly four decades, having gone on annual family trips together to the islands while growing up. It was during these vacations that they first encountered Hawaiian cuisine at age 11, and immediately developed a passion for the food and the people of Hawaii.

After running their own separate restaurant ventures for several years, they decided to bring their original love – Hawaiian cuisine – to the mainland. In doing so, they consulted with Hawaiian native chef, Brunson Achiu (who has brought Regional Hawaiian Cuisine to the mainland) to develop LemonShark Poke’s unique and innovative menu.

How it Started

“LemonShark Poké, founded in 2016 by Richard Gottlieb and former Wallflowers guitarist Tobi Miller, is a fine-casual franchise restaurant chain that specializes in traditional Hawaiian fare.”

Our Concept

Serving The Best Hawaiian Cuisine Since 2016

LemonShark Poké is the healthy, friendly poké concept that pioneered the “fine casual” restaurant movement. Focused on refined, high-quality and sustainable products and an inviting, upscale and modern atmosphere.

LemonShark Poké offers a hybrid table service and counterpoint dining experience with the comfort of a sit-down restaurant and the convenience of fast casual dining. Each location offers a craft sake menu and self-serve beer wall featuring a selection of craft beers chosen to highlight local flavors and a menu that offers Hawaii Katsu plates and hot fingers foods.

Named and inspired by the Lemon Shark, which unlike other sharks, is a discerning feeder and only consumes the very best fish possible, LemonShark Poké prides itself on serving the finest quality ingredients to its guests.

Our Founders

Tobi began his career as a founding member of the rock band The Wallflowers. After a pair of hit albums and Grammy Awards, he exited the band in 1999 to earn his degree in Business Economics and eventually his MBA from UCLA Anderson. He then moved into commercial real estate, became a franchisee himself which catapulted him into creating and franchising his own brand.

Meanwhile, Richard earned his degree in economics from the UC Santa Barbara while gaining fame as the driver of Big Red, a record-setting hot rod that has been featured in a variety of car enthusiast publications. While car racing is a thrilling hobby, Richard’s true calling is the pursuit of entrepreneurial success.

LemonShark Poké opened its doors in Southern California, and since starting its franchise program in 2017, the concept currently has 14 locations in 5 states with 63 additional locations under development.

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