STAMFORD — A diced-fish “poke” restaurant plans to open this fall in the Bedford Street space formerly occupied by the Oceanblue Dive store.
The new eatery at 108 Bedford St. will be called Poke Harbor and will launch in two to three months, according to the management at Chen’s Poke Bowl, in Mineola, N.Y., which has the same ownership. It will join another poke-themed restaurant, Pokemoto, which plans to open a few blocks away, on Main Street.
“We think people in Stamford will like our restaurant because poke is very healthy,” said Wayne Huang, manager of Chen’s Poke Bowl. “And we think we have a great location on Bedford Street.”
The departure of Oceanblue Dive, which closed around Memorial Day weekend, highlighted the ongoing retail turnover in the downtown. It had operated for three years on Bedford Street, after moving from Norwalk.
Before it closed, Oceanblue employees had cited growing competition from e-commerce as a problem.
“We sell apparel, and apparel is the segment hardest hit in all of this disruption,” Oceanblue owner Michael Feld said in a 2017 interview. “But the idea is to distinguish yourself by your service so that customers come to you as an authority. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Other closings this year on the street include Stagecoach Olive Oil & Vinegar Co. at 180 Bedford and Chic Jack’s NYC Vintage Clothing at 95 Bedford. Those storefronts are still vacant.
Also empty is 55 Bedford, which formerly housed a Payless ShoeSource store until it was shuttered earlier this year as part of a companywide liquidation.
To help fill the vacancies, the Stamford Downtown Special Services District recently launched its Retail Pop-Up Program, which has brought to Bedford Street a number of temporary tenants, including several art galleries and a J. Hilburn men’s clothing store.
“We created this program to strengthen ‘Main Street’ and bring in the types of retailers that we envisioned to the street,” Jackie Wetenhall, the DSSD’s director of retail development, said in a recent interview. “Hopefully, people will start to realize they can shop here.”
Arrivals in the past year on Bedford include Thundersley Interiors, Chic Boutique Optical and computer-and-mobile-device retailer and repairer Compco.
Downtown Golf, Engel’s Furs, Pedigree Ski, and R. Hollander Master Goldsmith figure among the established retailers on the street.
At the same time, Bedford Street remains one of the area’s top dining destinations.
Among other planned restaurants, Mecha noodle bar is under construction at 151 Bedford.
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