Will Richey didn’t set out to launch Charlottesville’s most influential restaurant group. But when he created Ten Course Hospitality, he did it anyway.
“Is it planned, or is it sort of organic?” Richey says. “I guess it is sort of an organic process. As we are going, we’re always tightening up ideas, trying to find the right opportunities.”
Richey, who today presides over a fluid empire of about a dozen restaurants and service organizations, got his start as a sommelier and front-of-the-house guy, managing servers and caring for guests. His local break came at L’étoile, the French stalwart that closed after 20 years in 2014. Richey ascended the ranks at L’étoile and along the way met Josh Zanoff, his fellow Ten Course founding partner.
Plateselector featured Rev Soup. Below is an excerpt:
A few magic words will assure you a warmer welcome at Revolutionary Soup: verses from poets beloved by creator and owner Will Richey. You just have to recite from memory five lines from the monthly poets and you will get an immediate 10% off your order. That is the cool literary, soupy deal.
Revolutionary Soup offers original soups, sandwiches and wraps made with fresh, local ingredients from organic, eco-friendly and sustainably maintained Virginian farms. You can even check them on a giant diagram that illustrates their entire local purveyor map.
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It’s wet. It’s cold. It’s downright frigid some days.
Luckily we have a wide range of freshly prepared stews, chowders and bisquesthat venture to brothy realms, far beyond the canned stuff. It’s difficult to go wrong with so many options to warm us up and soothe our soul. Here’s a short list to help you get started. Add your own suggestions by commenting on this article at c-ville.com/living.
This local mainstay (with locations on the Corner and downtown) sees even more business when the temperature drops. As a result, the team at the popular eatery works to keep the menu options (which also include sandwiches, wraps and salads) simultaneously fresh and familiar.
Owner Will Richey explains his approach to planning the soup offerings: “We generally keep a potato, tomato and seafood soup on the menu that changes seasonally, depending on what’s available,” he says. “We shift from light and fresh soups in the summer months to heartier soups in the fall and winter.”
Richey seems to be right on target. As the winter weather makes its belated debut, Rev Soup-goers currently favor the chunky beef stew chock-full of Timbercreek beef and tender root veggies. Also simmering right now: the lamb curry, packed with lentils and spinach and served over rice with a dollop of Greek yogurt and cilantro, as well as Rev’s signature spicy peanut tofu soup, which has been on the menu longer than any other item.Read More
The Piedmont Environmental Council wrote about Rev Soup. Below is an excerpt.
When Will Richey bought Revolutionary Soup in downtown Charlottesville five years ago, he started working with local farmers to provide as many of the restaurant's ingredients as possible -- from fresh, flavorful salad greens to the meat in his popular lamb curry soup.
"I have a love and passion for local food and working with local farmers," Richey said, "I would never be interested in the business if it was just taking frozen food and serving it to people. That's just not interesting to me."
So, after buying Revolutionary Soup, Richey immediately began working with local farmers in the Charlottesville area to provide as much of the restaurant's food as possible.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Revolutionary Soup looks like your average student joint. A bit grungy but cheerful, with a menu of comforting and, more important, cheap soups and sandwiches.
Besides the prices, there's nothing cheap about the food at Rev Soup, as the locals affectionately call it. The tofu in the signature spicy Senegalese peanut soup is organic and local, made just 30 miles away in Louisa. The wheat for the homemade biscuits is grown in Virginia and ground at Byrd Mill in Ashland. And diners can pick from an impressive selection of wine bottles for sale at retail prices -- and then open and drink the wine at one of the cafeteria-style tables at no extra cost. "It hurts my margins," admits chef-owner Will Richey, who worked for five years as a sommelier around town. "But I love the idea of people drinking a nice Burgundy with a paper cup of really good soup."
That way of thinking is typical in Charlottesville. And that's why the food here is far better than it should be in a place with about 40,000 year-round residents and 20,000 broke college kids. True, college towns tend to have a disproportionate number of educated, affluent residents, but even by that standard Charlottesville's food scene stands out. In a city best known for Thomas Jefferson's architecture, there's sushi worthy of Nobu in New York (the chef, Bryan Emperor, trained there), rustic but transcendent tapas, plus all the other things a great food town requires: standout bread, real espresso, artisan chocolate and locally brewed beer. The vibrant city farmers market supplies ambitious local chefs and the community, which, thanks to restaurateurs like Richey, is used to food that's a cut above.Read More