Kwei Fei and Micho co-owner Tina Schuttenberg will open a vintage female clothing store called Portal in January, the same month that Kwei Fei will re-launch its Cantonese menu, as Tina and her husband David explore the possibility of opening a third restaurant.
Portal, located at the corner of St. Philip and Cannon streets, will sell second-hand vintage and designer clothing items priced between $25-175, while also offering options to rent higher-priced pieces to wear for special occasions.
“I came from a retail background and was in fashion in New York,” said Tina, who owns Kwei Fei and Micho with her husband David, a chef who earned acclaim in New York City before relocating to Charleston. David worked at now-closed restaurants Scarecrow and Co. and Fish before launching Kwei Fei as a pop-up, later settling down in a permanent James Island location attached to the Charleston Pour House.
“The success of Kwei Fei kind of caught us by surprise and has been all consuming, but the goal has always been to open up a pre-loved, buy, sell, trade clothing store,” she said.
The bulk of the clothing currently available at Portal are items Tina has collected over the years, but moving forward, the store’s inventory will rely on clothing she buys from locals. Clothes and jewelry that is clean, in season and in mint condition will be bought outright and re-sold in the store, Tina said. Portal is “opening soon,” but customers can check out the store’s collection by scheduling a private preview appointment.
Portal’s upcoming debut comes at a time when the Schuttenbergs are considering opening a new restaurant based on the Cantonese-inspired menu Kwei Fei ran in August. Despite launching the menu in the midst of the pandemic, Tina said it was their “second-busiest month on record” since the restaurant opened in December 2018.
The Schuttenbergs are still searching for the restaurant’s new home, but they already have the name and branding in place.
“This project’s namesake is Lady Xian,” the Schuttenbergs wrote on social media. “She was a fearless woman who during times of difficulty brought people together, created opportunities, encouraged progress and peace. After 2020, she feels like the perfect inspiration to guide us into the future. Due to demand, we’re working hard to get this concept into a permanent space sometime in 2021.”
Kwei Fei will dedicate the entire month of January to the Cantonese cuisine that will eventually be served at Lady Xian. Look for dishes like General Tso chicken, Mongolian beef, sweet and sour pork, veggie lo mein and more to replace Kwei Fei’s regular Sichuan menu from Dec. 31-Jan. 31.
Kwei Fei is open for takeout, delivery and indoor/outdoor seating on its heated patio. For more information and to place an order, visit kweifei.com.