Things are a little bleaker in the local food scene today. The announcement came last night that Ted Santarella, owner of Tarrant’s Café, Tarrant’s West and Max’s on Broad, has passed away from cancer. Santarella opened the original Tarrant’s in 2006 in a former 19th-century drugstore.
His wife, Frances, told Style that Santarella had an infectious personality and a passion for the restaurant industry.
"One of my fondest memories of him was our sailing trip from Deltaville to Annapolis, MD. The water was choppy, the boat leaned quite a bit, and the weather changed dramatically. His ability to navigate through the water with sureness and confidence was how he lived his life," she says. "His passing hasn't sinked in yet, I keep hoping he's going to come home and say 'where's my Franny and Maxy!' I love him so much, I miss him terribly. It makes me sick that he's gone. There's so much we wanted to do together."
“Ted attributed his success in business and life to the relationships he built,” spokeswoman Liz Kincaid wrote in the news release. “The Tarrant’s restaurant group will continue to maintain those relationships. Ted’s wife will be assuming an active role in the restaurants and will continue to commit to Ted’s legacy of hospitality.” All three restaurants will be closed Thursday, Aug. 11, for his memorial service at 4 p.m. at Bliley’s Funeral Home, at 3801 Augusta Ave.
Regards may be sent to Tarrant’s Café, at 1 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23220.