One of Charlottesville’s culinary pioneers, Will Richey, was killed in a tragic car accident near the 1300 block of Owensville Road in the early hours of a fateful Tuesday morning. The 47-year-old, who founded Ten Course Hospitality, passed away suddenly when his car swerved off the road less than a mile and a half north of his well-known eatery, Duner’s.
Albemarle County police responded to the single-vehicle wreck around 1:21 a.m., revealing that Richey, not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation into this heartbreaking incident is in the hands of the police department’s fatal crash reconstruction team, and while details are limited, evidence at the crash site provides some insights.
Skid marks on the northbound lane trace the vehicle’s path toward Richey’s residence near the Rivanna Reservoir, marking a somber journey that ended in tragedy. The vehicle’s trajectory, passing over the road’s white sideline, into a ditch, and destroying mailboxes and a warning sign, hints at the force and violence of the impact. Yaw marks suggest the vehicle crossed the centerline before being halted by an embankment on the opposite side.
Satellite data paints a grim picture of the incident, indicating the vehicle’s travel of approximately 400 feet from the skid marks to the embankment where it came to rest. These details, while shedding light on the events, deepen the sorrow surrounding the loss of a beloved figure.
Will Richey was not merely a restaurateur; he was a culinary visionary who left an indelible mark on Charlottesville’s dining scene. Through Ten Course Hospitality, Richey owned and founded multiple establishments, including Duner’s on Ivy Road, Whiskey Jar, the Bebedero, and Revolutionary Soup on the Downtown Mall. His influence extended beyond the kitchen, as he also founded the Wine Guild of Charlottesville.
Richey’s impact on the community was profound, evident in the popularity of his restaurants and the memories created within their walls. His business partner at Ten Course, Josh Zanoff, passed away just last year, adding another layer of sorrow to the local culinary landscape.
In a statement of solidarity, all of Ten Course’s restaurants will be closed on Tuesday in honor of Richey. The void left by his absence is not only felt in the culinary world but also within the fabric of the community. It is challenging to find a restaurant in Charlottesville that has not been touched by Richey’s innovative spirit and commitment to culinary excellence.
“Operating a restaurant is something one does for the love of the service, hospitality, the art of food, libation, and the joy in creating a memory for people to enjoy,” Richey once said, reflecting his passion for the craft. “We are grateful to carve a living out of this joy.”
As the community mourns the loss of this culinary luminary, it is essential to remember Will Richey not only for his contributions to Charlottesville’s gastronomic scene but also for the joy, warmth, and memories he brought to countless patrons. His legacy will undoubtedly live on through the flavors of his creations, the laughter shared in his establishments, and the profound impact he had on the city’s culinary identity.