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2/14/2013 Just how do restaurateurs impress their sweeties on Cupid’s Day?

Hey there good looking, what you got cooking? How about cooking something up for me. (Lyrics to a popular 1950s Hank Williams song)

Local restaurant owners, chefs and waitresses will be preparing and serving lovely treats tonight, Thursday, Feb. 14, as sweethearts, friends and partners of all ages celebrate Valentine’s Day.

So, since these Valentine’s Day workers will be busy on the annual holiday that celebrates love, will there be time for them to exchange gifts and candy with their mates?

Bob and Barb Rieigliano and Ed and Maria Aulich are the newest owners of Chappy’s Mountain View Bar and Grill.

Bob and Barb are still considered newlyweds since they have only been married three years.

On the other hand, Ed and Maria have enjoyed wedded bliss for 39 years.

Both couples said being surrounded by all the love that’s sure to be in the air at Chappy’s would make the day extraordinary.

The four also recalled their first Valentine’s Day as a couple.

“It was so romantic,” said Bob. Barb agreed saying she and Bob had only been married for one month when she decided to surprise him on Valentine’s Day.

Barb awoke early that morning and served her new husband breakfast in bed. On the menu were over easy eggs, sausage, coffee, orange juice and heart-shaped toast.

Bob and Barb live in Florence where they own and operate the Florence Rose Bed and Breakfast. They previously lived in New Jersey.

Valentine’s Day will always hold a special place in Ed and Maria’s hearts as that is the day this longtime married couple met.

Both were living in the Chicago area and Maria was job hunting. You guessed it! “I was working as the manager at a hockey arena” said Bob. “She walked in the door, applied for a job and I hired her immediately.”

Maria laughed, “We went on our first date that night. It was dinner at Denny’s and we stayed at the restaurant all night long.”

To this day, the couple holds fond memories of that first date and often when passing by a Denny’s, they will stop and go inside to share the same meal the two enjoyed so many years ago—the Grand Slam.

Ed and Maria moved to the Valley in 2011.

On the menu at Chappy’s this Valentine’s Day is a meal for two featuring salad, choice of steak or chicken, cheesecake, and a glass of wine or beer for $39.99. The meal is available for lunch and dinner.

Patty Simmons, who is a waitress at Rancher’s Roost inside Cliff Lanes bowling center, has been married to her husband, Russell, for 31 years. The couple has three children and one grandson.

“Russell always does special things for me throughout the year just to show me how much he loves me,” said Patty. “So Valentine’s Day is a special day to remember all those things he has done over the year.”

Since Patty has to work the night of Valentine’s Day, this year she is going to prepare Russell’s favorite lunch—cheeseburgers and macaroni salad. She is also going to add some chocolate candy to the plate.

“And like my grandson said to me the other day,” said Patty, “Love is the most very special thing.”

On the menu at Rancher’s Roost for Valentine’s Day are strawberry/banana pancakes and more for breakfast, stir fry for lunch and prime rib or pecan crusted fish with the appropriate sides for dinner. Chocolate covered strawberries are also included, as well as other treats.

Kelli and Mike Spencer moved to the Valley from Michigan and opened Sangrita restaurant about five years ago.

Mike is a chef so every Valentine’s Day as a couple has primarily been spent apart.

However, there is one special Valentine’s Day Kelli holds in her heart.

“I was at home all day on Valentine’s Day with four kids as Mike was working a 12 hour shift,” said Kelli. “At 10 p.m. that night, Mike walked in the door with a bouquet of flowers and all the ingredients for my favorite dish, Chicken Carbonara.”

That dish, said Kelli, can be found on the Sangrita menu.

Kelli and Mike may have never celebrated a traditional Valentine’s Day together as a couple, however, they have managed to stay married for 16 years.

On the Sangrita menu this Valentine’s Day is a pasta special complete with appetizer, salad and dessert for $44.99 a couple. Crab legs will also be available.

Erika Glover and her husband, Dan, moved to the Valley in 1987, and soon after, Erika went to work as a cook at the Mining Company restaurant in Silver Cliff.

Erika’s heritage is German and just like  many a previous Valentine’s Day, she is going to treat her husband of 41 years to his favorite dish, German Beef Rolls. “He likes them,” said Erika.

The Mining Company is open for breakfast and lunch on Valentine’s Day.

Other Valley restaurants open on Valentine’s Day offering specials are Mavericks with a surf and turf dinner for two for $40, Westcliffe Wine Mine from 4 to 8 p.m., Brother’s Mountain Grill for breakfast and lunch, and Alpine Lodge featuring a six-course dinner complete with Beef Wellington, Seafood Wellington and Chicken Wellington served from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $29.95.

The Alpine is also open Friday through Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a Champagne Brunch. – Nora Drenner