STORY CHELSEA CHAMBERS | PHOTOS JIM PETERSON
The phrase “paddles up” is a rafting term that means to attack the rapids head on, facing the challenges to come. For business partners and long-time friends, Dan Landucci and Jordan Tapangco, paddles up means so much more than just fun on the river. It embodies their passion and dedication for their new restaurant, Paddles Up Poké.
Landucci and Tapangco met more than seven years ago, when both of their girlfriends — now wives — became friends in college. The two always had a complementary relationship that they thought would translate well into a business partnership, with Landucci being “the dreamer” and Tapangco “the anchor.”
They each came from coastal areas — Tanpagco from Alaska and Landucci from California — so their seafood knowledge hails back to their childhoods. However, they weren’t interested in starting a traditional sushi or seafood restaurant. Instead, they wanted to give Boise the option to create their own delicious poké bowls—pronounced “poh-keh” bowls. (Poké bowls are today’s hottest food trend, fish salads seasoned in various sauces. Poké bowls started in Hawaii and made their way like wildfire from the west coast to the east coast.) Paddles Up Poké’s competitive price points are hard for other restaurants to match.
After years of deliberation, the two went ‘paddles up’ and set to work facing the challenges of starting a restaurant. It was no easy task. They both spent hours painting, building and planning their 9th Street location. Paddles Up Poké opened its doors on May 1, 2017 and business has been booming ever since.
One of the biggest challenges for Landucci and Tapangco was to create the perfect menu. They wanted to serve only the finest fish and highest quality ingredients. “We would never have been able to have the products that we do without the help of Marcus Bonilla,” said Landucci. Bonilla has owned the Reel Foods Fish Market & Oyster Bar since 1980, and shared his knowledge and expertise with Paddles Up, helping it become a reality. In unison, Landucci and Tapangco gratefully credited Bonilla as their resource “for everything.”
“Marcus knows fish and he let us sample the product for taste and quality. He even helped us after we opened; he actually worked in the kitchen the first few days,” Landucci enthused.
Paddles Up Poké offers a healthy, satisfying alternative to some of Boise’s other dining options. For the owners, it is about the quality of the product, ensuring that each poké bowl has the freshest fish delivered daily, and that they’re ingredients locavore, whenever possible.
Their affordable, diverse menu is fully customizable. Their most popular bowl is the Bogus Basin, fully loaded with salmon, tuna, avocado, crab, seaweed salad, ginger and a plethora of veggies and sauces. Paddles Up Poké offers their additional toppings and sauces at no extra charge. While the Bogus Basin bowl takes the top seller position, Tapangco is most excited about their Poké Nachos, which he proclaimed an experience that everyone