Meet the Owner: Ann Kolenick

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You’ll see her hurrying around the restaurant, making sure everything is just so. Her influence is everywhere, from the renovations to your swoon-worthy dessert. We’re happy she’s here — otherwise we wouldn’t be here! She’s our owner, Ann Kolenick.

We slowed Ann down from her incredibly hectic day running The Gables at Chadds Ford — did we mention she has little kids? — to give you an insider’s peek into the life of a restaurant owner.

Why did you buy The Gables at Chadds Ford?

Because it was beautiful, rustic, unique and had so much potential. The outdoor patio was great, and I could see a lot of potential for weddings and other special events up in the event space.

Why did you buy your first restaurant, McCurdy’s?

In 2006, when I graduated from culinary school, my father, who is a very good businessman, talked to us about buying a restaurant. At the time, I was working in a restaurant — I’d never thought about buying my own!

I originally looked for restaurants in Pennsylvania, and then a family friend told me about a seafood restaurant for sale in Atlantic Beach, N.C. I had family in North Carolina, so I figured, why not move down there to be with them? Then everything somehow fell into place: With the support of my parents, I bought a beautiful restaurant on the water in Atlantic Beach!

What made you buy a second restaurant?

I really wanted to move back to Pennsylvania once I had my daughter, Lucy. It’s where more of my family is, and it’s home for me.

What’s your favorite part about being a restaurant owner?

I love to make people happy, and serving them good food and good drinks in a comfortable atmosphere is a great way to do just that. It’s also challenging to run a restaurant, but over the years I’ve learned a lot and done things that I never thought I could or would do. That’s very rewarding.

What’s the biggest challenge?

One of the biggest challenges is finding the right team. We’ve come a long way in five years and have overcome a lot of obstacles, but it’s been worth it to have the staff I have now. I found there are so many different personalities, attitudes, work experience, strengths and weaknesses, etc. … it’s a challenge to take all of that and turn it into staff members who work well together as a team. But I think we’ve nailed it!

How do you manage with two little kids?

It’s certainly hectic having two restaurants and two kids — it’s hard to remember sometimes how I’ve made it work. It has certainly become much easier now that Lucy and Charlie are both in school full-time.

What do you do in your spare time?

I definitely don’t have a lot of spare time, but I mostly love being at home and spending time with Lucy, Charlie and my three sweet puppies.

Ann, as a someone with a degree in pastry arts from The Restaurant School, what’s your favorite food?

Dark chocolate and most any kind of cheese.

And your least favorite food?

Licorice!

If you didn’t own restaurants, what would you be doing?

Making wedding cakes!

Stop by The Gables at Chadds Ford soon, and make sure to say hello to Ann, and maybe even Lucy and Charlie! It’s a family affair at our restaurant, and we’re proud to welcome you and yours.

The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.

Nina Malone

Photos, top to bottom: Edwin Williams Photography LLC (first two photos); The Gables at Chadds Ford