The sun is shining a little brighter on Mokauea Street in Kalihi this new year: Alicia's Market, the three-generation poke shop that was gutted by a fire in 2018, is finally starting its rebuild. "We're looking at summertime" for reopening the original store, says Chris Kam, son of owner Leonard Kam and grandson of founder Alicia Kam. They're starting with demolition of fire-damaged areas, and "If I order my equipment now it should come in by April or May."
That's all pending permitting, of course. Meanwhile, you can still get your favorite poke bowls and roast meats at Alicia's Poke Express, the small counter they opened post-fire in the same building.
See also: Alicia's Market is selling poke again
The new version of Alicia's Market will have the same offerings as the old one: wasabi masago ahi poke, spicy ahi, limu ahi, sweet onion tako poke, spicy king crab poke. There will be full plates with two meats, your choice of poke, mac salad and kim chee. Roast duck will be back, along with kalbi beef and teri chicken, and the return of a fryer will mean fried noodles, fried ahi belly and lumpia. Pork hash, kalua pig, kulolo, squid luau, pipikaula will return. Brisket. Poi mochi. Crack seeds. Slushies.
While offerings won't change initially, the look of the store will. There'll be a shiny new 20-foot poke case, and fewer groceries to make room for expanded prep space. "I have some plans for new stuff but I haven't had time to test out my recipes yet," Chris Kam says. "Maybe fried chicken. Our special on Friday and Saturday was karaage baby tako."
Further down the line, Alicia's is looking to expand. In the year and a half since the fire, Young's Fish Market opened a new location in Kapolei, Tanioka's popped up at Ala Moana Center and Ahi Assassins now has a counter at Hawaii's Favorite Kitchens at Rainbow Drive-In. Alicia's had similar offers, all of which got put on hold with the fire. Once they get the original store up and running, look for them to open somewhere in town or eastward.