The Open Rice Kitchen (ORK) story began when Calvin Liu, a UC Davis alumnus, wanted to open an eatery that could accommodate the diverse group of students in the town he went to school in. After receiving his degrees, Calvin entered the corporate world and worked in many different capacities. He realized that the further he grew in the corporate world, the further he was away from his true passion of working in the day-to-day operation.
Open Rice Kitchen was born in 2012. “Open rice” in Cantonese translates to “let’s eat” and that was the goal; to have something for everyone.
Most of the food at Open Rice Kitchen started out as Cantonese/Hong Kong based home-cooking comfort food. However, after months of opening, Calvin was not seeing the expected results.
After the first year, Calvin decided that the direction of ORK needed to change in order for it to continue its growth. Drawing from his experiences, he wanted to bring a little of the big city vibe to Davis. Calvin’s focus shifted and realized that instead of being about traditional Chinese food, it was much simpler: cook good food and stay open late!