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Two Chefs, Two Passions, One Restaurant

This is the story of two chefs who happen to be married. She is a pastry chef whose repertoire ranges from chocolate-filled croissants to old-fashioned scones and chocolate chip cookies. He has always been on the line of a restaurant kitchen, turning out French and American entrees for dinner guests.

He wants to open a restaurant. She dreams of running a pastry shop. Who wins?

They both do. Along with their partner, Doug Holt, Bill and Jackie Von Ahnen are the proud owners of du'Glace Bistro and Patisserie, which opened Jan. 3 in Deep River.

"We thought this would work," Jackie says of the one-story brick building that was already neatly divided into two sides. "We have 55 years experience between us, and we've worked for someone else for years. This was the ultimate goal."

The Von Ahnens, both Culinary Institute of America graduates, worked in New York City and Nantucket restaurants before moving to Connecticut in 2002 for positions at the Copper Beech Inn. While at Copper Beech, they met Doug Holt, a former stockbroker in the midst of a career change. As a student at the Center for Culinary Arts in Cromwell, Holt set his sights on an internship at the inn because he knew that the Von Ahnens had worked at the Chanticleer, a French restaurant on Nantucket.

The trio gutted the building and painted the exterior a dark red with black trim. Their design for the dining room changed when they tore out the sheet rock on one interior wall of the 100-year-old building and uncovered brick arches. The Von Ahnens asked their neighbor, artist Rick Silberberg, to paint murals inside the arches, and he complied with paintings in the style of Toulouse-Lautrec. The dining room and bar, which also has tables, seats about 70 persons.

"We wanted an affordable, unpretentious [spot]," Jackie Von Ahnen said. "We want people to feel comfortable." Among the appetizers on the French menu are bacon leek tart with mesclun salad ($7) and frog legs Provencal ($11). The most popular entrees on the menu are coq au vin ($19) and saut�ed calf's liver with bacon cream sauce and pommes dauphinoise ($17). Bill Von Ahnen offers daily specials, while his wife's creations � among them, hot apple tart with Calvados creme anglais ($6) and chocolate and white chocolate bombe ($6) are on the dessert menu.

The restaurant, at 158 Main St., Deep River, is open for dinner Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday, 5:30 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 10 p.m. The bakery is open Tuesday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Telephone: 860-526-2200 .


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