Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Restaurant owner Tela Loli talks business

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 10:00 AM

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Tela Loli knows her business. Albanian-born Loli came to America blind to the fact that she would soon become manager and co-owner of the nationally acclaimed breakfast restaurant, Le Peep. In the seven years that she and the restaurant have been around, Loli has made it her goal to make sure that everyone who enters Le Peep’s doors has a pleasing, and filling, food experience. With a large menu featuring delicious breakfasts, brunches and lunches, Le Peep has a lot to offer, all before its 2:30 p.m closing. Even when the doors of the restaurant are locked, Loli makes sure that Charlotte stays full and happy by offering catering for those craving Le Peep’s unique hospitality and mouthwatering menu for parties and events.

Creative Loafing: Did you come to America with the intention of entering into the food industry?

Tela Loli: The truth, no. I love cooking and taking care of the customers. I’m a very friendly person. If I were in any other business, it would be accounting, so mixing my love of food and pleasing the customers with my business background works. I never thought that I would be in the food industry, but working with Le Peep gave me a feel for how it would be working in the U.S.  and I love it. It’s been seven years and we’re still going strong.

Where do you see yourself in your work a few years from now?

Definitely still here, taking care of customers at Le Peep. I enjoy seeing the kids grow up in this atmosphere, growing up with the restaurant. I have seen babies enter high school since being here, and all of the loyal customers that have been here as long as I have; it’s amazing and I want to continue to see that growth.

Have you ever wanted to get more into the actual food preparation part of the industry, or are you strictly business?

I love to cook and I can make anything you want me to make, but I have to be told what you want. I’m not very good at cooking for others. I know how to cook a lot of different things, but I’ve never wanted to be a chef, other than for my family. My mother is a wonderful cook and loves food, so I get that from her, but I’d much rather be the one managing the chefs and waitresses. I’m more business-minded, and I have the ability to be with my kids more in this position. I would love to stay with my kids, but I couldn’t be at home all the time. I have to busy, moving around. I like to make sure that the customers are happy and that everyone is taken good care of in their experience.

Le Peep is located at 8140 Providence Road, Ste. 100.

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