Houston Poke Shop’s Shot at a Brick-and-Mortar Proves Short-Lived

Pokéology at 2313 Edwards in the Sawyer Yards center has closed. The business founded by Charlie Chang, who brought on executive chef Jason Liao, started as a pop-up that landed an extended residency at Doc Holliday’s in Rice Village. It earned many fans there but the goal was to move to a real restaurant space. Chang’s company, Semper Fi Restaurants LLC, secured funding for the brick-and-mortar via crowdfunding platform NextSeed. The campaign raised $189,600 from investors.

Jason Liao at the old Pokéology location
Chef Jason Liao at the old Pokéology location in the back of Doc Holliday’s. Photo by Chuck Cook Photography.

Liao says that the overhead costs were simply unsustainable for the restaurant and that his actual percentage ownership was very small. For him, this is sadly a second beloved-but-short-lived restaurant venture. His first, Preview Modern Seafood in Sugar Land, closed in 2015 after only 10 months despite having a minimum four out of five stars on popular consumer review platforms. Pokéology hovered even closer to a perfect five-star rating when it closed after only seven. Recently, Houston Food Finder writer Carlos Brandon named its poke as an essential Houston dish.

“Thank you everybody for the support but unfortunately due to the high cost of operation we had to close,” said Liao in a statement to Houston Food Finder. “I have separated from my partners at Pokéology and am working on a project with partners I’ve wanted to work with for a long time and will reveal details as soon as they become solidified.”

Houston Food Finder is still awaiting comment from a NextSeed representative and it’s unknown as to whether Pokéology’s investors have been informed yet that it is closed. Should we receive more information, this article will be updated.

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