Jan 24, 2023 - Food and Drink

Now open: Open Rice expands to Metropolitan shopping center

Open Rice Asian Kitchen

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Open Rice Asian Kitchen recently opened its second location at The Metropolitan in midtown.

The Metropolitan location — formerly home to Vivace — is about twice as big as the original, which opened in 2019 in the Blakeney Shopping Center. It’s owned by the same people as the original — Bryan Li and Jason Chung, plus their new business partner, Charle Au.

Why it matters: Open Rice is about as traditional as it gets when it comes to Cantonese-style Chinese food. “You kinda have to have grown up in Hong Kong to really get some of the dishes right,” Li said. 

Context: Hong Kong, one of the largest cities in China, “has always been a very unique city,” Li says, because it was a British colony for more than 150 years. “So, naturally, that part of China — the Cantonese region — has heavy Western influences,” he adds.

  • Some examples of Open Rice dishes with Western influences are the Hong Kong Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ pork) and the Typhoon Shelter soft shell crab.
Open Rice Asian Kitchen
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Open Rice Asian Kitchen
The Hong Kong Char Siu (Cantonese BBQ pork). Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Zoom in: Li immigrated from Hong Kong to the Carolinas in the late 1990s, “Charlotte has been our home for more than 15 years now,” he says.

  • He’s also been in the restaurant industry for more than a decade. In 2010, he opened Pisces (also located in Metropolitan) with his business partner and Open Rice co-owner Jason Chung; they sold it in 2017 to its current owners.
  • Needless to say, Li’s no stranger to the Charlotte food scene. He says people return to his restaurants because they know they can expect good vibes and excellent food. “The only thing that we can control is how good the food is and the kind of experience we’re giving people when they walk in,” he says.

What to expect: For the most part, Open Rice’s menu will be comparable to the original location, with the addition of gluten-free and vegetarian options.

  • I went for lunch and ordered the vegetable spring rolls ($7.25), the beef and broccoli ($13), the Hong Kong Char Siu ($14), fried golden buns ($6.25) and the cereal killer bubble waffle ($10.50) for dessert.
Open Rice Asian Kitchen
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Details: Open Rice is located at 1100 Metropolitan Ave.

  • It’s open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm.
  • Dinner hours are Wednesday-Thursday 4:30-9pm, Friday-Saturday 4:30-9:30pm and Sunday 12-8pm. Closed on Mondays.

What’s next: The size of the new location is large enough to hold events. There are three dining room areas where people can host birthday parties or wedding receptions, for example.

  • The new, larger, kitchen also means the restaurant can accommodate new menu items. Li says he’s most excited about adding dim sum, a Chinese meal made up of small plates of dumplings and other snacks. It takes a lot of space and manpower to make, Li adds.
Open Rice Asian Kitchen
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Open Rice Asian Kitchen
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
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