Local Boy Doing Good
Mark Jacobsen - Service With a Smile
by Madeline Martin , Photos by gmhTODAY
At just 32 years old , Gilroy native Mark Jacobsen has already made a “ mark ” on the community . He is well-known for his hard working , can-do attitude , his big goals , and his even bigger heart for the people of Gilroy .
Tom Cline , Past President for the Garlic Festival Association , who has known Mark for years , said , " Mark has always impressed me by his work ethic , whether it was at his job , or as a volunteer for the Gilroy Garlic Festival . He always works hard and gives everything he has and does everything with a smile . He has a passion for this community and is an emerging leader .”
Mark had big dreams since childhood , and hoped to open a restaurant of his own one day . Through much hard work , his dreams became a reality in July 2022 , when he opened his own Poki Bowl Restaurant . This quick service restaurant combines Hawaiian poke , or raw fish , with an Asian flair , and serves a customizable bowl with fresh seafood combined with several choices of bases and toppings . Poki Bowl ’ s goal is to serve a meal quickly and conveniently while still using fresh , healthy ingredients .
Mark is very excited to welcome people to his new place . He combines his love for restaurant work with investing in the people he works with . " I enjoy being able to provide jobs for people and also being able to teach young people about the restaurant industry .”
Local teenager Cody Martin , who has worked under Mark at two restaurants , said , “ I like working for Mark because he is not only knowledgeable and capable , but also fun to work with .”
Mark ’ s work ethic really sets him apart . At 15 , he started washing trucks with his buddy at Tri-County Trucks . Then he began building his restaurant experience , starting at Mama Mia ’ s Restaurant in Gilroy . Mark truly “ climbed the ladder ” there , promoting from a host , to busboy , server , cook , and finally an assistant manager .
His restaurant experience also includes opening and running a Wing Stop in Santa Clara for two years for the owner of Mama Mia ’ s Restaurant and managing Brew City Burgers . Mark took all of this experience and applied it to opening his first franchise , Poki Bowl .
“ I have always tried to stay busy with work , if I wasn ' t working at the restaurants I was working side jobs by mowing and disking fields with my tractor . I think I got that trait from my grandfather , who continued to work until he was about 90 years old .”
Mark has also been serving his local community for most of his life .“ I love to give back to the Gilroy community ,” he said . He has volunteered for a variety of events and activities over the years . He started helping at the Garlic Festival when he was just nine years old and graduated to Beer Committee Chair in 2019 . Mark has also volunteered over the years for the Memorial Day Parade , the Garlic City Car Show , and other Gilroy Chamber of Commerce endeavors . He has also served as a Chamber board member for four years .
Mark Turner , CEO / President of the Gilroy Chamber , said , “ Mark is one of the hardest working people I know . His
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