What the Fried Rice? serves up bold Asian-fusion flavors

What is it: A new restaurant in downtown Sandusky is bringing joy to those who love Asian fusion. Co-owners Aubrie Runyan and Li Yu brought What the Fried Rice (shortened to WTF-R) to the area and offer patrons fast-casual, Asian-fusion dining. Guests can build their own fried rice and noodle bowls with one protein and as many vegetables as they would like. The menu also offers “Stuff Our Way” preset dishes, as well as appetizers and snacks.  

WTF-R focuses on delicious and simple food that is customizable for every palate. This is what Li and Runyan think set them apart from other small businesses.

“Guests get to choose everything that goes in their dish,” Runyan says.

They also take extra care with allergies and dietary needs and take pride in being transparent about all of their ingredients.

Guests choose all items that go in their dishes.“Building each dish from top to bottom allows guests to know exactly what’s going in their food,” Runyan says.  

Business background: Chef Li started cooking 35 years ago in his parents’ restaurant, Fu Yi,  in Toledo.

“Our recipes come from a long line of successful Asian-fusion restaurants that started with Li’s dad,” Runyan says.

After his family moved from the Toledo location, Li opened a restaurant in the same space a few years later and called it Spicy Tuna. This is how Runyan came into Li’s life. 

Starting as a host at Spicy Tuna at its inception 13 years ago, Runyan moved her way up the chain at the business to general manager and to head sushi chef. Spicy Tuna still exists today, but Li wanted to create something else new. 

That led to the first WTF-R spot in Northwood, Ohio, which opened about five years ago. Li brought Runyan onto his WTF-R team three years ago and they began working together to open a second location in Sandusky.  

“Sandusky to me feels like a big city with homey small-town vibes,” Runyan says. “Everybody is so friendly and welcoming.”

How to get involved: Located at 186 E. Market St., Sandusky, WTF-R is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Check out photos, specials, and full menus on Facebook and Instagram.