Taste of Mexico City

. October 23, 2012.

You may have eaten at a food cart inspired by a restaurant. But a restaurant inspired by food carts?

That’s the case with Chela’s, a new family-run eatery on Maple near the corner of Liberty. Adrian Iraola wanted to share not just the food, but also the culture of his beloved home town, Mexico City. “Mexico is a lot more than sour cream, salsa, sombreros, and maracas. The food on the streets in Mexico City is simple, fresh, and healthy, and I wanted people here to experience those flavors as authentically as possible.”

Taking inspiration from the street vendors he remembers from his youth, Adrian and his wife Lori offer authentic tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. “No ground beef, ever; you wouldn’t get that in Mexico. And no crispy taco shells. Everything is freshly made daily.” Be sure to try unique Mexico City-style tamales in savory and dessert versions, and a Chela specialty, the torta, or Mexican sandwich. Adrian’s pick: the Cubano, a meat and cheese extravaganza he recreated based on childhood memories.

Chela’s loves kids. “I look out and see half or more of the tables filled with families sometimes,” says Lori. “We’ve even added a special kid quesadilla.” Try a special treat: freshly made horchata, the delectable rice-based drink that’s not easy to find north of the border.

Chela’s is located at 693 S. Maple Road, and is open 7 days from 10:30 a.m. until 9, except on Sundays, when it closes at 8. www.chelas.co