Ye’s Poke Station is the new kid on the block offering fast meals, snacks and sweets. Located directly north of the Oval at 306 W. Laurel St., Ye’s goal is to serve healthy budget-friendly food. The restaurant is a partnership between husband-wife duo John Ye and Cici Shi, as well as head chef Jason Yu.
The restaurant functions much like Subway, Chipotle or Mod Pizza. The food is put together right in front of the customer, and it is highly customizable. In addition to protein-packed sushi-style and teriyaki bowls, Ye’s offers tea, crepes, ice cream and miso.
Sophomore human development and family studies major Holly Ye helps run her parents’ restaurant when she’s not in class. Her parents are based out of Highlands Ranch, close to John Holly’s, another one of the multiple restaurants they own and manage.
Nicole Towne: What has it been like growing up in the restaurant business?
Holly Ye: It honestly teaches you a lot, business-wise and personality-wise. It taught me a lot of patience, but it’s also really fun because you get to meet various types of people.
Towne: What is it like working alongside your parents?
Ye: They were here at the beginning of the month to help kick it off, but right now, I’m not really working with them. I’m kind of doing it all by myself. Having them around taught me a lot. I’ve never managed a group of 13 to 15 people before. So, I learned how to do that.
Towne: What do you do in your managerial role?
Ye: I mainly deal with our employees. I deal with the hiring. Also, if anything goes wrong in the restaurant, I deal with that as well.
Towne: What is it like at home, food wise?
Ye: So my dad is a chef. He is the main chef at the restaurant we have in Highlands Ranch. It’s called John Holly’s. So he cooks for us, as well as my mother. So, we eat authentic Asian food. My little sister likes to cook as well.
Towne: What values have your parents instilled in you?
Ye: A lot, honestly. I think the main thing is to approach everything with a warm heart, and not an iron fist.
Towne: How would you describe the vibe of the restaurant?
Ye: We’re kind of a big family. We get along with everybody really well, and we actually know a lot of customers by their first names. It’s a very chill atmosphere. Students can definitely come in here and study.
Towne: The restaurant is very cute inside. Did your parents or Jason consult an interior designer?
Ye: Actually, my mother did all of this by herself. She used Pinterest. So a lot of this is off of Pinterest.
Towne: What’s something you recommend on the menu?
Ye: Honestly, everything is really good. The poke bowls for sure, but if you don’t like seafood the teriyaki chicken and beef are pretty good. I’d definitely get a milk tea. It’s pretty good. Jason uses his own homemade recipe.
Towne: What do you think of this location and having the restaurant be so close to campus.
Ye: It’s really cool actually because we have a lot of students come in and we have a lot of regulars. It’s fun. I’ve met people within admission and finances for CSU. I thought that was cool.
Towne: You said you’re interested in entrepreneurism. What do you see yourself doing?
Ye: I want to open a retirement home. That’s what I’m thinking right now.
Towne: What got you interested in that field?
Ye: It’s a funny story. I was watching a Youtube video and it was saying how bad a lot of the retirement homes are, and I sat there and I was like I can make it fun. I can make it happy. So, that’s my goal to make a retirement home where the elderly actually want to stay there and have fun and I’ll get to help take care of people.
Towne: Do you feel you connect well with the geriatric demographic specifically?
Ye: Yeah. I get along super well with all ages, but I really like elderly people because they have so many stories. It’s fun to listen to stories and learn new things. I’m super close with my grandparents and they have taught me a lot.
Ye’s Poke Station is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m-10 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.