A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith

LemonShark Poke owners finding success in Airpark

By Eric Newman

After nearly 20 years in “Corporate America,” Bethanie Mercer wanted to be her own boss.

With the July 2018 opening of LemonShark Poke at 7325 E. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, Suite, 103, she is not only working for herself, but she’s fulfilling a life-long dream of owning a restaurant.

Poke has become a nationwide craze in healthy eating, and Mercer wanted to be part of the Asian dishes.

At LemonShark Poke, customers start with a base—including white rice, mixed greens and soba noodles—and then add the poke, which is fish, chicken or tofu. Guests can finish it off with sauce and crunch options. A regular bowl starts at $11.95.

Mercer says one of her favorite aspects of the LemonShark menu is its variety.

“All the options are great,” Mercer says. “You can be as healthy as you want, or as decadent as you want, and kind of everywhere in between. You can pretty much always come in and get something new.”

Mercer says LemonShark was the perfect franchise to buy into as she and her husband frequently ate poke. They appreciated the food, but the friendliness of the franchise made LemonShark an easy choice. LemonShark Poke flew the couple to the corporate office in Redlands, California, for an all-encompassing two-week rigorous training course.

Fro those 14 days, they learned the ins and outs of poke preparation, as well as the culture LemonShark hopes to provide at all its U.S. restaurants.

“We really went in green, and they were so helpful. From the front to the back of the store, we learned so much and felt like they welcomed us in,” Mercer says.

An Arizona native, Mercer felt like Scottsdale Airpark would be a perfect spot for a poke restaurant, with the bustling business and activities.

Her office faces Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, and she can see the action happening at a constant pace. Customers who have come in the last 11 months have given great feedback as well.

“We hear that we’re one of people’s favorite poke bowls in the area. The atmosphere, food and customer service, I think, help us stand out,” Mercer says.

Now, the goal is to grow the restaurant’s customer base. The LemonShark staff has been handing out menus to businesses around the Airpark, and Mercer says she is open to cross-promotion with her neighbors. She believes in the food and drinks and thinks others will, too, if they make their way into the shop.

“I just want to get the word out, because once people figure out about us and where we are, I’m sure they’re going to like it and want to come back,” Mercer says.