While countless local restaurants have struggled through pandemic-served challenges, business has been nothing short of amazing for Brookside Pakastani staple Chai Shai, said Aasma Tufail.
“I cook simple food — and people love it so much. I am so blessed, business has been better than before,” said Tufail, who owns the restaurant alongside son, Kashif, and serves as its cook.
There’s no secret recipe for Chai Shai’s success, she added, just careful planning and early adoption of curbside service offerings — noting the restaurant has focused on carryout as a primary way of reaching customers for the entirety of its decade in business.
“And our food is better the next day than the first day,” Tufail joked.
Free from the threat of an operations upheaval, Chai Shai has instead been able to focus on the thing Tufail loves most: making street food that can be enjoyed with tea.
“I love cooking simple food. I put so much love into it. Simple food has no crazy spices, it’s not spicy,” she said. “It’s healthy food — healthy food I cook for my family.”
Boasting menu items like a lamb roll, pakora curry, and chicken, beef or vegetable samosas — with emphasis on finding ways to reach vegetarian customers, the restaurant’s menu adds as much heart to Kansas City’s plate as it does culture, Tufail said.
“People say, ‘It’s just like my mom cooked this food,’ so many people have told me that. It’s home cooked food, it’s nothing special. But people like it.”
Click here to place a curbside order at Chai Shai.
Such a fondness from neighborhood customers has been more than enough to keep the doors open amid uncertain times, Tufail added, grateful for the support of the Brookside community and customers from across the metro.
“We’ve made so many good friends, met so many wonderful people. So many people online will say, ‘We love the food,’ or, ‘We miss you guys,’ we know our customers so much,” she said.
“Hopefully this thing will get over and we’ll get to see all our friends. They’re wonderful people.”