Former Cardinals pitcher Todd Stottlemyre has lost count of the number of times he’s been approached to lend his name to one brand or another, particularly restaurants. He has always hesitated, but when an opportunity arose, with Koibito Pokésomething just felt different.
“Throughout my baseball and post-baseball career, I’d been approached about a number of different concepts, but without knowing anything about the industry, I’d always said no,” says Stottlemyre. “I’d heard horror stories from other athletes getting involved in restaurants, so I always stayed away. However, when my business partner asked me to go to lunch with him and I saw that it was a Poké concept, it just fitted perfectly with where I am in my life – and it’s my favorite food.
For Stottlemyre, who endeared himself as a Cardinal Nation pitcher from 1996-1998, the fascination with Poké goes far beyond his love of fresh seafood. As a professional athlete, Stottlemyre has always prioritized health, nutrition and fitness. However, just how important they are to life off the field began to emerge about a decade ago. At the time, his father (who passed away in 2019) was battling cancer, and Stottlemyre began to think about his health in relation to his own children.
“I was in a place where I didn’t want to take my health for granted and wake up to bad news one day,” says Stottlemyre. “Not that it won’t happen, but I want to do my part to live as long as possible, not for me but for my children. I want to see them go to school and get married and have grandchildren. I can’t do this if I don’t take care of my health.”
With that in mind, Stottlemyre sees Koibito Poké not simply as a place to get delicious food, but as a way he and his team can make healthy eating simple, easy, and delicious for people. As he explains, the food at Koibito is served in its rawest — and therefore most nutritious — form and doesn’t weigh people down like a heavy, heavily processed meal. As Stottlemyre has found in his own life, eating a diet that emphasizes raw fish and vegetables just makes him feel better, and he looks forward to sharing that lifestyle with others.
“What we put into our bodies determines our performance and energy levels,” says Stottlemyre. “So what we are trying to do here is to help people who lead fast-paced lifestyles get a nutritious meal so that after that meal they can perform in life. After eating at Koibito, you won’t feel sluggish or bloated. It’s like there’s a bunch of smiley faces in your body saying, “Thank you. I needed that.” “
Stottlemyre and his team, including local franchise operator Shane Yearian, plan to open two Koibito-Poké locations in St. Louis this summer. The first, which will be located in Des Peres, is scheduled to start in July, with a second location in Warson Woods due to open shortly thereafter. These are the first Koibito Poké locations outside of Arizona, where the brand began, and represent the company’s first foray into expanding nationwide. For Stottlemyre, who has fond memories of his time with the Cardinals, St. Louis seemed like the perfect place to take his business to the next level.
“St. Louis is important to me for many reasons,” says Stottlemyre. “I loved playing there; it was my favorite place to play. People treated me incredibly well. I was a worker and they cheered me on when I played well and they also stood by me, when I haven’t played well My partner [Yearian] share my passion; he loves the concept and shares my passion for what we’re trying to do.”
Both St. Louis Koibito Poké locations will follow the same format that found success in Arizona: Customizable Poké bowls made with a variety of proteins, toppings and homemade sauces, served in a fast-casual environment. Though raw fish is a staple of the restaurant’s menu, Koibito also serves grilled chicken, boiled shrimp, and tofu for those looking for something different.
Aside from the food, Stottlemyre is also proud of Koibito’s social mission, which is accomplished through his charitable foundation, Koibito Cares. Through a variety of initiatives such as B. providing meals for students who have lost school-provided lunches during the pandemic, the company ensures it has a positive impact on the community that goes well beyond simply providing a place for a good meal.
“We want to do good by doing good,” says Stottlemyre. “We are not here to take, but to give and serve. That is the most important thing for me.”
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