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Trendy tandem Fresh Catch Poke, Galley Lounge set to open in 500 Pearl

Fresh Catch Poke debuted on Main Street in Williamsville in January 2018, becoming the area's first restaurant to offer a menu dedicated to poke, a colorful Hawaiian dish featuring seafood – often raw – over rice.

Michael Tobin's brand, which emphasizes sustainable, eco-friendly sourcing and responsible presentation, will soft open its second location at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 25 on the first floor of 500 Pearl, with joint effort the Galley Lounge. A full food-and-drink menu will be available, and live music will be performed by Vin DeRosa and DJ Sike. A grand-opening celebration is slated for Dec. 7 and will be accompanied by a toy drive for Oishei Children's Hospital.

While the food menu from Williamsville will be duplicated downtown initially, Tobin says he plans to add bar-only tapas – such as sake-marinated octopus – once the new bar-restaurant finds its footing, likely after a few months.

Fresh Catch is known for customizable bowls centered around fresh seafood such as ahi tuna, salmon, shrimp and yellowtail, with tofu, chicken and sweet potato available as alternatives. These range in price from $11.25 to $15.95.

[Related: Andrew Galarneau's review of Fresh Catch | Photos of Fresh Catch's food and more]

Tobin hopes this new venture will be a "more refined version of [the first] Fresh Catch," anchored by a carefully constructed beverage program. The bar area – called the Galley Lounge – will be overseen by Tobin and directed by a staff trained by local beverage expert Tony Rials, who also designed the menu.

Mocktails, healthy, nonalcoholic concoctions predicated on fresh-pressed juices and from-scratch syrups, begin at $6. They can be made "more boozy" ($9, dubbed Low Tide, typically adding wine or something similar) or "most boozy" ($11, called High Tide, adding a hard liquor), if desired.

"We’re trying to carve out an affordable night out for people with great food that’s healthy, and also [serve] affordable drinks," Tobin said in a message.

Peas & Thank You – which weaves sweet pea, cucumber, ginger, habanero, eucalyptus and grapefruit together – is an example of the creative, nutritious drinks that may be customized into a cocktail, in this case by adding a sparkling wine top for "more boozy" or a choice between gin and vodka for "most boozy."

The opening drink menu for the Galley Lounge, the bar associated with Fresh Catch Poke. Please click for a larger image. (Images courtesy of Galley Lounge)

A small selection of taps includes Japanese beer Sapporo and a few trendy craft breweries – Kona Brewery from Hawaii, Mikkeller from Denmark and Two Roads from Connecticut – while bottled beer, hard cider and hard seltzers are joined by glasses of wine, ranging from $8-$12.

Fresh Catch joins a slew of other food-and-drink entities in 500 Pearl. W XYZ Bar and in-the-works Vice join Fresh Catch on the first floor. Tobin's bar and restaurant will be accessible directly from Franklin Street or through the Aloft hotel lobby. A 300-car garage with free parking boasts elevators that deliver customers from any level to the first floor of the hotel. Patrick's Rooftop, on the 13th floor, is the highest bar outside of New York City.

Email: btsujimoto@buffnews.com

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