Thamel Venture Group LLC Signs ADA to Open Pokeworks Location in Queens

Thamel Venture Group LLC Signs ADA to Open Pokeworks Location in Queens

Leading fast-casual poke concept to open in Long Island City with former GM on ownership team

Thamel Venture Group LLC Signs ADA to Open Pokeworks Location in QueensIrvine, CA  (Restaurant News Release)  Lelin Kandel began his Pokeworks journey in 2015 as the very first employee of the pioneering poke concept’s first location in Bryant Park, N.Y.. Now, nearly a decade later, Kandel will soon open the brand’s newest restaurant in a much different role: owner. Through his LLC, Thamel Venture Group, Kandel is preparing to open a Pokeworks in Long Island City, Queens in early 2024 alongside partners Roshan Gauchan and Nijjwol Lamsal.

“It’s a full-circle moment for me, after working with Pokeworks for all these years,” said Kandel, who rose through the ranks to Senior Operations Manager during his time with the company. “My partners and I are excited to be opening our first location and bringing the ‘Poke Your Way™’ concept to more people in the Queens community!”

This opening marks the first of many locations the partners intend to sign on throughout New York City. This venture with Pokeworks is the latest addition to their quickly growing portfolio, which currently includes the popular Queens nightclub, Thamel NYC. 

Renowned for launching the worldwide poke movement, Pokeworks is dedicated to meeting the growing demand for high-quality, premium fast-casual cuisine. The company is recognized in Entrepreneur’s 2023 Franchise 500 list, ranked #12 on Fast Casual’s 2023 “Movers & Shakers” list, and is the only poke concept named to Entrepreneur’s Best of the Best Franchises.

To learn more about Pokeworks, its locations and its full menu, visit For easy ordering and a variety of perks – including $5 off your first app order – download the Pokeworks app in the App Store or Google Play Store.

About Pokeworks

Pokeworks was founded in 2015 with the simple mission of spreading its love of fresh, healthy, and delicious poke – a renowned staple of Hawaiian cuisine – with the wo world. Pokeworks’ innovative Poke Your Way™ approach is groundbreaking, offering guests limitless ways to customize their poke order to match their eating preferences including vegan, gluten-free, and other mindful diets. The Poke Burrito has developed a cult-like following, much like Pokeworks’ proprietary sauces, which range from sweet and spicy to savory. Pokeworks believes in living a healthy lifestyle and eating meals made from the freshest, highest quality ingredients from sustainable food sources. In 2022, the brand was honored to be named the “Top Poke Franchise” by Startups Magazine. Pokeworks has quickly expanded to become the leading fast-casual poke brand in the world with four consecutive years on Fast Casual’s “Top 100 Movers and Shakers” list as well as Entrepreneur’s 2023 “Best of the Best Franchises” and Franchise 500 Ranking. Pokeworks has more than 72 locations across US, Taiwan, and Mexico, with Canada coming soon. For more information visit or follow Pokeworks on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. To learn about franchising with Pokeworks, visit

Courtney Sybesma