|Chai Shai: a new tea and samosa shop near Brookside|
"We get people coming in and asking us those questions every day," says Kashif Tufial, who will be running Chai Shai -- a combination retail shop, tea house and cafe -- with his brother Abdul. Both young men, who were raised in Kansas City, are full-time students. Kashif is a senior at UMKC studying environmental science; Abdul is a pharmacy and business major. Getting Chai Shai open is their summer project. Once the business is up and running, they'll have other family members working on day-to-day operations. Their mother, Aasma, will be running the kitchen.
|Abdul, left, and Kashif Tufial|
Chai Shai will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. But exactly when will it open? "We've been telling everyone in the neighborhood that we'll be open in two to three weeks for the last two to three weeks," laughs Abdul. "But once we pass all our inspections, we'll be ready to open."
Since the Tufial's sister, Bazigna, runs an import-export business, Chai Shai will feature a selection of Pakistani-made fashion accessories, and some shelves are already arranged with shoes and jewelry. This week the Tufial brothers also decided that, because UMKC has such a large community of Indian and Pakistani students, to sell cooking staples like basmati rice, spices and imported non-alcoholic beverages.
"What surprised us is that so many people in this neighborhood, who are not Indian or from Pakistan, are interested in buying these items too. So many people stop in to see how the place is coming along and to offer suggestions and ideas," says Kashif.
The brothers are hoping that Chai Shai will become a neighborhood gathering spot, particularly on weekends when they begin serving teas and cafe fare at 11 a.m. "We want to expose people to our culture," said Kashif. "And create the kind of neighborhood cafe that's very common in Pakistan."