Rice Box Village
Houston's 'Chinese takeout bar from the future' unboxes cool new Rice Village outpost
Houston’s favorite Blade Runner-inspired Chinese takeout bar will soon add a fourth location to its roster. The Rice Box is coming to Rice Village.
Slated to open later this fall at the intersection of Times Boulevard and Morningside Drive, the new Rice Box will be the restaurant’s biggest location yet — approximately 60 indoor seats, which is roughly double the size of the River Oaks restaurant that opened in 2019. Plans to open the restaurant have been underway since 2020, but Rice Box owner John Peterson waited until the morning of Thursday, October 13 to announce the new location with a movie poster-inspired social media post.
Coming attractions.Courtesy of The Rice Box
“We’ve been looking at Rice Village for a very long time,” Peterson tells CultureMap. “If you’re from Houston, this is the stomping grounds for everybody.”
The Rice Box is one of several new restaurants to open in the area over the past couple years. It will be located across Morningside from Israeli-inspired Hamsa and its sister concept Badolina Bakery, as well as a few steps away from Navy Blue, Aaron Bludorn’s eagerly anticipated new seafood restaurant.
“It’s special to be in ground zero in Rice Village. It’s gone through so many changes,” Peterson says. “Aaron Bludorn is opening right down the street from me. It’s hilarious.”
Formerly an auto repair shop, demolition work revealed the building has a core of structural steel. In keeping with the Rice Box’s futuristic and dystopian design, the restaurant is being built inside the steel beams. Skylights will allow diners to, in Peterson’s words, “look straight through to the sky.” It’s a fitting setting for a restaurant that started as a food truck and was founded by a long time car enthusiast.
‘There’s definitely some volume that’s turned up on the atmospheric details, especially since this will probably be the largest store we’ll ever build,” he adds.
Customers can expect a menu that’s mostly the same as the Heights and River Oaks locations. That means American-style Chinese favorites like General Tso’s (available with chicken, tofu, or cauliflower), Chinese broccoli with beef, fried rice, lo mein, and more. Ingredients and cooking techniques have been refined since the food truck days, but Peterson wants the Rice Box to be true to what it has always been.
“At the end of the day, we’re a Chinese takeout bar,” he says. “I stay in my lane.”
Rice Village will get an upgrade in the beverage department. Peterson says he’ll add one more nitro tea to thee restaurant’s offerings as well as 15 beer taps and a high-end soda dispensary that will serve “a fantastic Coca-Cola Classic.”
“We’re bringing classic American Chinese takeout — a place where you want to get shrimp fried rice or lo mein with an egg roll or General Tso’s chicken for an affordable price,” Peterson says. “We’re that offering. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for students and people in the Village.”