We feel like there is always an awesome local business popping up in our city. And more times than not, there’s a young go-getter behind the scenes working their tail off to make it all happen. In partnership with 1 Million Cups Indianapolis, we’re working to highlight these outstanding entrepreneurs and share their story.
Who are you, how old are you, and what part of Indianapolis do you call home?
Adam Odgaard, 31 spritely years of age, Fountain Square is where I call home.
Now tell us about your business!
Poke Guru is a fast-healthy restaurant operating out of the second floor of the Indianapolis City Market, with our second location opening in Bottleworks the summer of 2020. We specialize in serving up poke, which is traditionally a Hawaiian dish containing fresh fish mixed with delicious marinades, crisp veggies and hearty rice. We like to describe it as “sushi in a bowl” to those who are new to poke. To differ ourselves in Indianapolis we decided to approach this traditional dish with a fusion of Asian inspired flavors and ingredients while focusing on increasing our plant based offerings.
What void are you filling with your company and what made you want to start your own venture?
After living and working downtown for over six years, I realized fast and healthy food options were lacking for downtown professionals and residents. While at work, I always had trouble finding a quick lunch that wouldn’t make me feel lethargic and tired after eating. Don’t get me wrong, I love burgers and pizza as much as the next person, but from my own personal experience I knew Indy needed something that was health focused and that you could grab and go quickly to get back to your busy day.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? Are there any other endeavors that got you to this point?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamt about being an entrepreneur and owning my own business. I was able to see the lifestyle my grandfather was able to create and how he was able to support his family from the company he started in Denmark back in 1957. I’m fortunate enough to be on the board of that same company which gives me significant insight into how a business operates at that size. Other than trying to mow my neighbor’s yards and trading Pokémon cards, my first real business was an automotive detailing company I started and operated while attending Ball State University named Clean Reflections. I took my OCD and love for cars and turned it into a fun way to help support myself through college. After that, and while in my previous job, I started and sold an e-commerce business selling Apple accessories; trying to profit on yet another interest of mine, Apple. Both of these have acted as real learning experiences to help me take the terrifying and exciting leap to leave my consulting job and start Poke Guru.
What’s your favorite part about starting your business in Indianapolis? How would it be different in another city?
I was born and raised in Indianapolis and couldn’t think of a better place to start Poke Guru. I’ve had tremendous support from my family, friends and the entire community of Indianapolis; which I contribute the success we’ve had this far to. I’ve had the pleasure of making some great connections around the city which has helped with learning about things I’m unfamiliar with or opening doors to growing my business. I think having connections and knowing the city you are opening shop in is a large consideration when starting a new business, and I think would have made it significantly harder to start if I decided to go into an unfamiliar market.
How can people learn more about your products or services?
We focus most of our energy on our Instagram account, @poke.guru. We are usually posting new ingredients, events we are taking part in or opportunities to win free swag. Otherwise, we are proud of our website and the fact that you can order pickup or delivery through our own system at www.poke.guru. Our product is great for anyone who is looking to have a quick meal that is full of fresh protein, crisp veggies, and hearty rice. I eat it almost every day and can attest that it will fill you up but won’t slow you down.
In the spirit of 1 Million Cups, what can our community do for you right now?
We are still a young company, coming up on 1 year old on July 23rd, so my biggest ask would be to help share that we are a fast-healthy eatery that serves up more than just fish; which I think may deter a lot of people. Should you decide to let us serve you, posting to your story and tagging our Instagram account would be doing us a massive favor.
As a program of the Kauffman Foundation, 1 Million Cups Indianapolis works with entrepreneurs, empowering them with the tools and resources to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their businesses. Mr. Kauffman believed it was a fundamental right for anyone who had a big idea to be able to bring it to life—and we’re here to fulfill that mission. Learn more and attend an upcoming meetup!