Chela (rhymes with "Stella") is Adrian Iraola's mother's name and a common diminutive for lots of Latina names: "Celia, Cecilia, Graciela--they often get shortened to Chela," says Lori. Adrian met Lori in Ann Arbor twenty-four years ago. On their first date, he says, "I was making her enchiladas, and I put on some salsa music. I grabbed her and started dancing." He was amazed: "I was like, Wow! You do know how to dance! It's like I'm dancing with a Latin woman! And the rest is history."
Their three kids helped out in the restaurant over the summer. Andrew, twenty-one, at Kalamazoo College, is too far away to help much now, but nineteen-year-old Nicole, at Albion, "is only forty-five minutes away," says Lori. "I've called her and said '[sixteen-year-old] Anna's got a soccer game, and daddy's got to take her, can you please come home?'"
"Nicole can make a tasty guacamole and salsa," adds Adrian. Adrian also does a lot of the cooking at Chela's, "to maintain authenticity of the flavors."
Chela's, 4079 Stone School (Stone Plaza), 973-5554. Mon.-Sat. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m. chelasannarbor.com