In 2017, a seasoned husband-and-wife catering team opened an ambitious globally-inspired restaurant named for a geographic quirk: the slight elevation of their block in Vancouver's South Granville neighbourhood.
At their restaurant, The Rise, (or more formally, The Rise Global Fusion Eatery) owners Wanda Lai and Dan Leung have been offering gracious hospitality with whimsical fare showcasing flavours from around the world, with a decided pan-Asian bent. And while The Rise, situated at the somewhat quieter south end of the popular Granville Street shopping district, has held on in the changing neighbourhood, after five years Lai and Leung say it's time to move.
In a heartfelt social media post, The Rise says they aren't abandoning the brand, but rather seeking another place to set up shop, because it's become too costly to operate where they are.
"This may come as a surprise, but we have come to a very difficult decision of not renewing the lease at this location now. Although South Granville is a wonderful neighbourhood, it has simply become unaffordable for our small business," explain Lai and Leung in their message.
Instead of signing on for more years at 3121 Granville, The Rise is "actively looking to relocate to a more sustainable location." Their last day of business in the current location is set for March 13.
South Granville has proven to be a challenging neighbourhood for small businesses in recent years. In 2019, what seemed like a mass exodus was taking place, with multiple long-standing restaurants and retailers opting to close. In October of that year, you could count over two dozen "for lease" signs up on the neighbourhood's 10-block span of Granville St.
Exiting owners each had individual circumstances surrounding their decisions to pack it in at the time, but many of the same factors were cited repeated: skyrocketing property taxes, fractured lease negotiations and minimum wage increases.
Little did they - and the world - know that by early 2020, doing business was about to be shaken radically by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rise kept their operation afloat, shifting to offer delivery, and ultimately welcomed back guests once dine-in restrictions were eased in 2021.
"We’re one of the few—if not only—places in town where France greets South Korea, China meets Peru, and Italy welcomes Vietnam with open arms on a plate," The Rise says of their culinary scope. To that end, you'll find dishes like their signature "Uni-Versal Pasta" made with sea urchin, crispy rice battered Brussels sprout and cauliflower bites in gochujang buffalo sauce, and playful presentations like the very Instagram-worthy "Wheel of Sweets."
To compound the bittersweet "see you later" of the news, The Rise is also having to bring lunch service to a permanent end, effective immediately, due to staff shortages. However, The Rise will remain open for weekend brunch, happy hour, and nightly dinner service; their updated hours are Tuesday to Friday from 3 p.m. to late and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to late.