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Family-owned Austin favorite Poke Bay sees record sales after viral TikTok

Austin restaurant Poke Bay sold out Tuesday after a TikTok made by the owners' daughter went viral. (Poke Bay/Instagram)

Weeks before longtime University of Texas favorite Poke Bay is set to close, business has been booming as a viral TikTok pushed the family-owned restaurant to its biggest sales day to date.

The shop, situated on the Drag, closed for two hours Tuesday afternoon after selling out in the lunchtime rush. That rush came thanks to owners Paul and Priscilla Song's daughter, Angelica, who asked TikTok users to help support her parent's business before the university takes over the building in the coming weeks.

@_angelicasong help me get on Austin tok! 🥲🥲🥲 Poke Bay in Austin TX @ UT Austin campus #atx#austintx#utaustin♬ original sound - Angelica Song

UT Austin bought Poke Bay alongside four other businesses in December 2021. According to Angelica, her parents will be left with no help from the university as they look to relocate and continue to recover from the pandemic.

In an update, Angelica said the line wrapped around the door before the couple closed its doors to restock.

@_angelicasong Reply to @luvsarahtonin !! KEEP BOOSTING AND PLS TAG UR FAV BRANDS to work with AAPI talent. I’m going to surprise my parents w a fat check 🤪🤪 #pokebayaustin♬ original sound - Angelica Song

The original TikTok has received 1.6 million views and 318,000 likes.

When asked about giving compensation or relocation assistance to businesses affected by the purchase, UT spokesperson Eliska Padilla said: "As the university continues to find ways to serve our students, provide additional housing options, and advance our educational mission, we acknowledge the challenges created by our growth — especially combined with Austin’s growth. We ppreciate the role local businesses have in our campus community, and we will engage them in conversations about other university options for relocation."


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