In March 2017 Andrew Flanagan opened a delivery only kitchen in a tiny corner of his girlfriend’s jewellery studio. Based on the success of this, he took the plunge and opened his first customer facing store in January 2018 on Loop Street. And despite the challenges facing the food and beverage industry as a result of COVID-19, Andrew Flanagan has just opened his fourth store.
The Poké Co offers customers a fast-casual dining experience, specialising in healthy and delicious poké and smoothie bowls, within an environment that enables customers to leave feeling inspired and rejuvenated. The brand is based on a simple vision to do good: to your taste buds, your body, the community, and the environment.
Let’s get to know Andrew Flanagan a little better!
How did The Poké Co come into existence – and how has it impacted your life?
The idea to open a specialised poké bar in Cape Town was first sparked while travelling in 2015. I discovered that poké has all the flavours we love in sushi, rediscovered in a unique, spontaneous and convenient way. I realised that it was missing from the seafood scene in Cape Town and felt it was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss out on!
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
The biggest risk I have taken was moving back to Cape Town in 2016, giving up a successful yachting career, and investing my savings in getting The Poke Co off the ground.
If Mars was liveable, would you accept a one way ticket there?
Hahaha, no thanks, don’t think the grass gets much greener than Cape Town.
If you were given one thousand acres of land what would you do with it?
I think I’d build a nice home on it and most likely leave the rest in its natural state. Restaurants and farms are hard work, they never sleep!
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
My fiancé is the gatherer and collector, so I guess that leaves me as the hunter.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Plently, horses for courses.
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
My fiancé and I love to cook and love to experiment. She is a great cook and takes the lead if I’m being honest. We enjoy a lot of veg based dishes and seafood of course.
How would people communicate in a perfect world?
I think it’s a balance between using technology when appropriate and knowing when its best done in person. WhatsApp is really effective in communicating general messages quickly though our team – a tool you wouldn’t have had 20 years ago.
When you have 30 minutes of free time – how do you pass it?
Generally looking at the weather & surf report and planning my next sneaky ourdoors activity.
If you woke up to 300 unread emails, how would you prioritise which ones to answer?
Luckily that is generally not the case, but I typically know what I want to achieve out of the day and the week and that would guide me as to which would take priority.
Where do you go and what do you do to find peace and recharge?
I surf and I love to travel, camp and get off the paths most trodden. Spending time with friends out of Cape Town, near the sea.
If you could write one new law that everybody had to obey, what would it be?
More laws! Not sure I want any more of those right now!
What, if anything, have you ever re-gifted?
Shoes, I’m a little fussy.
What is the most interesting thing you have seen or read this week?
Recently I’ve been putting my attention to Golf, which I’ve never done before. The amount of money and research that has been put into that sport is unbelievable.
What skill or craft would you like to master?
As mentioned above, it’s currently have golf on the brain. I’m competitive so I don’t enjoy not being good at something!
What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship to the environment?
I think lockdown showed us how important it is to be able to get outdoors on a regular basis, and hopefully people are now appreciating what we have more. I think trying to slowly shift your state of mind to take more ownership of our local environment and look after it as if it were an extension of your home. Initiatives like “take 3 for the sea” are great and easy to follow. Many hands make light work.