Lily Lei and Karalee Nielsen Fallert have brought authentic Chinese fare to downtown Charleston with a bang. With a menu that is based primarily on the recipes of Lily’s family, Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen offers Chinese classics as well as modern dishes and weekly specials.
The vision for Lee Lee’s was born when the two old friends recently reconnected. Lily, who is originally from Taiwan, immigrated to Canada and worked in her family’s restaurant for many years. After making her way to Utah, she opened her own restaurant where Karalee worked as a server and fell in love with the restaurant business. Karalee eventually moved to the East Coast where she opened numerous restaurants of her own, including Taco Boy, Monza, Closed for Business, The Park Cafe, and The Royal American. She always kept the memory of her mentor close and reached out to Lily with the dream of bringing Chinese cuisine to the Lowcountry. Lily tweaked her family recipes and the two designed a vibrant interior space filled with custom woodwork, vintage Chinese posters, bright red birdcages and a private back dining room. Lee Lee’s red door opened in early 2014 and it is the 16th restaurant in their combined experience.