Southwest Chinese Restaurant ‘Water Song’ Opens on Cross Street in Federal Hill

| March 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Water Song, a new restaurant serving dishes from the Yunnan Province of Southwest China, has opened at 21 E. Cross St. in Federal Hill. The approximately 1,500 sq. ft. restaurant space was formerly the home of The Local Fry.

Like other restaurants in Maryland, Water Song is only open for carry out and delivery at this time.

Water Song is a concept from Cheng “Colin” Liang, who grew up in the Yunnan Province and owned two restaurants while he attended college in Shanghai, and his business partner Andrew Hinton. Hinton’s wife is also a native of the Yunnan Province.

Liang spent recent years looking for a location for his restaurant as well as getting an MBA from Johns Hopkins University so that he could better understand business in the United States. He debuted his food at a pop-up at R. House and at a booth at Charm City Night Market.

Hinton, who is a real estate professional in the area, helped in the search for a space and, along with Liang, was drawn to the opportunity in Federal Hill because its where he and girlfriend Roha Zhang, who will be the general manager at Water Song, like to hang out.

Liang’s two restaurants in Shanghai were Japanese Bento Box concepts. He and his partners thought this would be popular with the heavy college population where it was located. One restaurant was delivery only, and the other was a cat café. Liang sold off his share of the business before moving to the United States.

Liang looks forward to showing off the cuisines of his hometown with his new Baltimore concept. Yunnan Province cuisine, which is very different from the more well-known Chinese styles of cuisine popular in the United States, takes many influences from the adjacent Southeast Asian countries. Water Song will serve soups similar to pho in beef and pork broths.

Liang said the closest Yunnan Province restaurant is in Alexandria, VA and the concept is starting to get popular in New York City

Water Song’s initial menu includes three noodle dishes including two soups and a rice noodle salad. It offers rice bowls where customers pick from three items including two styles of pork, beef brisket, scrambled egg, eggplant, and mashed potatoes. Appetizers including Sweet & Sour Ribs, Marinated Beef Shank Slice, Spicy Tofu Slices, Roasted Eggplant Salads, and Purple Sweet Potato Pancakes.

When Water Song opens fully, it will have a Chinese tea bar serving green, black, and flower teas out of a clay pot. For now, it is offering bottled beverages to go. Water Song will be BYOB when restaurants are allowed dine-in customers again.

Water Song is now open 11am to 8pm, but plans on expanding its hours and staying open until 2am on the weekends in the future.

Water Song takes its name from the clouds in the mountains and valleys of the Yunnan Province. Liang and Hinton undertook a cosmetic renovation of the space.

Liang said his main focus at Water Song is the consistency of the food and providing service with a positive and happy attitude.

Water Song will have about 40 seats and will always rely on carryout and delivery business.

Water Song worked with Total Image Creative on the roll-out of the restaurant.

Photos below courtesy of the Water Song Facebook page

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