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Adrian Iraola

Incipient Tacos

Counting down to Chela's Dexter outpost.

by Sally Mitani

Published in September, 2018

As of late August, it was clear that--barring another tornado like the one that whizzed through this exact neighborhood in 2012--Dexter really is about to get that Mexican restaurant that has been at the top of its wish list for years. Chela's bright yellow-and-green signage is mounted over the door of the former Foggy Bottom Cafe next to the Hallmark store in Dexter Crossing, and cheery tropical-colored furniture and fixtures all appear to be in place. Owner Adrian Iraola, who owns two Chela's in Ann Arbor, is predicting a late September opening. Chela, by the way, rhymes with "Stella"--it's his mother's name.

Iraola is from Mexico City and loves its street food. Much of it needs little explanation: tacos, burritos, and quesadillas filled with chicken, beef, pork or fish. But some of the more authentically Mexican options may be less familiar. Carne asada (grilled steak), barbacoa (shredded seasoned beef), and al pastor (grilled seasoned pork) are some of the meat treatments offered. Vegetarians can get tacos filled with potatoes or rajas (sliced, grilled poblano peppers). Tortas are sandwiches with a Mexican touch: talera bread filled with any of the taco fillings and topped with queso fresco and guacamole. Freshly made pico de gallo is always available.

He'll probably do as he does at his Ann Arbor restaurants and open at 10:30 a.m., offering chilaquiles (eggs scrambled with tortilla strips and salsa) and huevos rancheros. Drinks are nonalcoholic, but they venture beyond the usual Coke or Pepsi products: horchata (a rice drink), limeade, all the wild Jarritos flavors. At press time, Iraola said he hoped to have a few more elaborate dinner options but wasn't ready to share details.

Chela's, 7065 Dexter-Ann Arbor (Dexter Crossing).


On Main Street, Watchtower Comics & Collectibles closed, but a new business is in the in the works called Revive. Co-owner Maddy Svihra (pronounced "severe-uh") is a "wellness coach--not a doctor, not a dietitian, but you know, like people have life coaches?" She calls

...continued below...

Revive a "nutrition club." Her co-owner, Donnie Phillips, owns similar nutrition clubs in Ypsilanti and Milan. So what is a nutrition club? "It's not a space to buy a product, but a place to try a product." That product is healthy shakes and smoothies, many, but not all of them, from the Herbalife brand. She is predicting a late-September opening.


A required notice to Michigan's Workforce Development Agency in August alerted the public that Dexter Crossing's Country Market will close its doors in November, following reduced hours in October.

The notice, from parent company Kenco Inc.'s HR director Beth Sullivan, listed forty-nine store employees who would lose their jobs at the Dexter location. The notice says the displaced workers will not have seniority "bump" rights at Kenco's seven surviving stores, but notes that the company will "offer employees the opportunity to apply for positions in our other locations."

The announcement comes six years after the closing of the Country Market in Saline's Sauk Trail complex (now Emagine Theater). Like the Saline location, the Dexter Country Market faced nearby competition from both a higher-end Busch's and a lower-cost competitor--Walmart in Saline, Meijer in Dexter.

Kenco's development company, Shamrock, still owns the building in Dexter Crossing, but neighbors speculate a sale is likely. President Sean Kennedy could not be reached for comment at press time.

Country Market, 7001 Dexter-Ann Arbor. (734) 424-9600. Daily 7a.m.-10 p.m. Hours reduced beginning Oct. 29. Permanently closed Nov. 4.     (end of article)

[Originally published in September, 2018.]


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