Valley News -

By Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

Jack E. Williams, Richie's Diner owner dies: services set at Rancho Community Church

 

Last updated 4/6/2018 at 11:16am

Shane Gibson

Jack Williams greets diners at his popular Murrieta restaurant Richie's Diner.

Jack E. Williams, 84, who died March 16, was a pioneer in the Temecula Valley restaurant community and will be honored 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14, in a homecoming celebration service at Rancho Community Church.

Williams, a Silver-Plate-winning restaurateur, was the founder of the well-loved Richie's Diner franchise with locations in Temecula and Murrieta that continues to bring back nostalgic memories of 1950s diner for hundreds of weekly patrons.

The service information may be found at http://www.englandfamilymortuary.com where a memorial wall has been posted for Williams. The church is located at 31300 Rancho Community Way in Temecula with services held in the main sanctuary.

Many people, including this writer, remember shaking hands with the smiling Jack Everette soon after opening his first Richie's Diner on Jefferson Avenue north of Winchester Road in 1991. The diner, decorated in the checkered red and white tablecloths, bar stools on the counter and even table juke boxes, became an instant success for the Temecula Community.

The smell of good old American wood-fired, country-fried chicken at dinner time and hot breakfast cinnamon rolls and bacon frying is still wafting in the air at Richie's Real American Diners.

He and his wife Linda remained true to their simple food service philosophy, "Pleasin' People," as the franchise business grew. The philosophy is carried on now in locations at 40651 Murrieta Hot Springs Road in Murrieta; 32150 Temecula Parkway in Temecula and 8039 Monet Ave., in Rancho Cucamonga.

Williams' legacy grew as more and more restauranteurs across the country followed his retro-style diner operations and brought him more and more recognition. That national recognition won him a Silver Plate Award in 2014 from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.

Williams was even more of a friend in recent years to those veterans that often enjoyed their visits to Richie's. Navy veteran and long-time Temecula resident Rick Reiss said he fondly remembers Williams.

"He and his wife regularly supported military and military veterans, law enforcement officers and first responders," Reiss said, adding that Williams "gave a lot of support to the community. He is going to be very missed."

Williams also gave his support to many fundraising events for nonprofits and people in the community and those who needed help with medical bills and other hardships, Reiss noted.

Among Williams' many friends were California Sen. Jeff Stone, a former Riverside County supervisor who on March 22 adjourned the state Senate in Williams' honor. Murrieta City Councilman Randon Lane and Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor Chuck Washington also praised Williams on his lifelong career and help to the communities.

Williams grew up in the ranch and farm areas of West Texas and New Mexico where he began his food service occupation. He loved working in his backyard and cooking on the barbecue grill and would soon perfect the wood-smoke meat flavors now carried on in the Richie's diners.

Shane Gibson

Jack Williams, owner of Ritchie's Diner waves to the crowd during the Temecula 4th of July parade.

His wife Linda was raised in Alabama and after their marriage, shared many of her recipes for homestyle meals and desserts and loved to serve them up with the best Southern hospitality. Together they created the Real American Diner concept for their restaurant that brought old-fashioned country cooking with the highest quality meats and ingredients to their customers and trained their staff to be friendly and courteous and to make sure they would always be "pleasin" to people.

His success brought him to become friends with many restaurant pioneers in Southern California including Richie Snyder, member of the family that started the In-N-Out burger chain. It was after Richie Snyder that Williams was inspired to name his restaurant, "Richie's Diner."

Tony Ault can be reached by email at [email protected]

 

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