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Couple Opens French-Inspired Café in Wilmington

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When Fresh Thymes in Wilmington’s Forty Acres neighborhood closed in September, the space stayed vacant for only a short time before Gretchen Brizendine and Alex Sianni took over and opened De La Coeur Café et Pâtisserie (1836 Lovering Ave., Wilmington, 660-7178, www.delacoeurcafe.com.) “I’ve always dreamed of having my own café,” says Brizendine, a University of Delaware grad with a degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management and a certificate in baking and pastry arts from Le Cordon Bleu. “I’ve been sitting on a business plan a while.” She and Sianni, who has worked in the fine-wine industry for more than 15 years, were frequent visitors to Fresh Thymes when they found out mother-and-daughter owners Jane and Jenn Adams were closing up shop. The Adamses, worn out from operating the restaurant for seven years, moved to Costa Rica last fall, where they plan to open a bed-and-breakfast. De la Coeur, which offers breakfast, lunch, dessert and coffee, opened on Oct. 10. The name, meaning “from the heart,” is also a play on the word Delaware, Brizendine says. The French-influenced menu includes an almond croissant, French toast, sweet and savory crêpes, a sandwich and soup du jour, and other items. The couple, who are engaged, also plan to do once-a-month, prix-fixe dinners. Their goal is to get a liquor license and offer an extended happy hour with wine, cider and a few nibbles. Says Brizendine, “It has really been serendipitous.” 

Gretchen Brizendine and Alex Sianni

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