Karalee FallertFounding Partner
Karalee Nielsen Fallert
Known as one of the most prolific and progressive restaurateurs in Charleston, SC, Karalee Fallert has been the driving force behind many of the city’s most popular restaurants for the past 15 years.
Originally from Clovis, CA, her culinary education began at Utah Valley University in 1996. After studying culinary arts and visual merchandising for two years, she decided to get back in the field and headed east to pursue her business dreams. She knew she’d found the right coast when she took a road trip down Highway 17 and crossed the bridge into Charleston in 2000.
Karalee began by co-creating and founding the popular tapas bar, Raval, on Upper King Street in 2005. She continued conceptualizing and opening several more: Monza in 2007; Taco Boy/Folly Beach in 2006; Taco Boy downtown in 2009; Closed for Business in 2009; The Royal American in 2011, and Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen and The Park Cafe, both in 2014.
The inspiration for The Park Cafe came to Karalee in late 2013 as she drove by the empty space on Rutledge Avenue. She knew the neighborhood was hungry for a new eatery and was determined to make it available. She shared her vision with Xan McLaughlin and together they opened the doors to The Park Cafe in February 2014.
In addition to conceptualizing and opening restaurants, Karalee is a long-time advocate of community projects. She co-founded The Green Heart Project in 2009, as a small school garden at Mitchell Elementary School in downtown Charleston, with the intention of reconnecting its students with fresh, locally grown produce. The garden projects have since grown to seven other schools across the Charleston area and all of Karalee’s restaurants, including The Park Cafe, regularly source vegetables from them.
The Historic Charleston Foundation recently presented Karalee with the prestigious 2014 IMPACT award which pays annual tribute to one woman who represents a local commitment to community and preservation. Called a “local champion and pioneer,” the organization specifically noted the progress Karalee has made in the community since opening The Park Cafe.
She was also named one of Charlie magazine’s “50 Most Progressive” in 2015 and the Charleston Regional Business Journal recently named Karalee one of the top “40 Under 40” in Charleston.
When not planning her next culinary venture or giving back to the community, Karalee spends her time surfing, traveling, and cooking with her husband. They are also currently building a working farm on Edisto Island, SC.