By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Downtown loses a 'friend to many'

Marcus Larson/News-Register## Kathleen McKinney places daffodils on the memorial for 411 Eatery and lounge owner Rick Drakely who died unexpectedly over the weekend. Like so many others, McKinney has fond memories of Drakely. She described how hard he was trying to make the restaurant succeed during trying times.  He wasn t going to give up,  McKinney said.  He was going to make sure 411 survived, but now I m not sure what s going to happen.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Kathleen McKinney places daffodils on the memorial for 411 Eatery and lounge owner Rick Drakely who died unexpectedly over the weekend. Like so many others, McKinney has fond memories of Drakely. She described how hard he was trying to make the restaurant succeed during trying times. "He wasn't going to give up," McKinney said. "He was going to make sure 411 survived, but now I'm not sure what's going to happen."

Friends said he collapsed at his restaurant, The 411 Eatery & Lounge, early Saturday evening. He died later at Willamette Valley Medical Center.

Survivors include his wife, Katelyn; son, Greysin; and daughter, Mena.

Macy & Son Funeral Directors is handling the arrangements. A viewing will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. in Macy's chapel.

Drakeley and Maria Sachs converted the former Olive You into The 411 — the name is a play on both the address of the business and the phone number for directory assistance — in 2012. The restaurant quickly became popular for its Pacific Northwest seafood, steaks and sandwiches.

Under his leadership, the 411 became “an incredible downtown gathering place,” said Ruben Contreras, who maintains a Facebook page about McMinnville history and events. “Ricky, McMinnville is never going to be the same without you,” he wrote.

Drakeley had been cooking for three decades, including a decade in Minnesota. He also had managed restaurants in Salem before starting the 411.

When he began the new venture in 2012, he told the News-Register, “We want to emphasize making our guests feel at home.”

And he succeeded, according to friends, staff and customers who expressed their shock and sympathy on local social media pages after learning of his death.

Lesley Leighton posted, “Ricky, you were truly loved by this community.” “Such a loss!!!” Robert Emrick wrote.

Marcia Jones called him “such a wonderful person,” and Linda Arnold Werner wrote, “such a great guy to so many.”

Lisa Langlitz noted Drakeley was “loved by so many.” She said he provided great customer service when she visited the 411 every few months. He was a “great host, and truly created a great restaurant ... will miss him and 411.”

Drakeley eventually operated the 411 by himself and staff, and then married McMinnville native Katelyn Flora. He also served as the officiate at weddings for many of his friends. 

“It was my wife’s idea. She called him and he immediately said yes. ... We were family,” said Joe Bailey, who with his wife Jonielle was married by Drakeley, inside the 411 on April 11 (4/11). Drakeley later served as officiant at their daughter’s wedding, too, as well as many others. “He was that kind of guy you could talk to about anything.”

McMinnville Downtown Association Manager Dave Rucklos said Drakeley made a success with his restaurant, even during the pandemic shutdowns. During McMinnville Dine Out(side) last summer, crowds filled the tables he set up on Third Street.

Drakeley, who joined the MDA last year, also was “a great voice” for local restaurants and for Third Street businesses, Rucklos said.

“Rick was a really interesting guy. He was engaging,” the downtown manager said. “It’s a super loss, to his family, the downtown and the community.”

Friend Linda Arnold said on top of being a fantastic chef and mixologist, Drakeley was a kind man who always had a smile on his face and a hug to give.

“His spirit will live on forever in my heart and this town, he has touched so, so many lives here and just wherever he goes,” said Arnold, who met Drakeley soon after he opened The 411. “I have been blessed to have had Ricky the time I did in my life.”

Over the years, Drakeley played an active role in McMinnville. In addition to advocating for downtown, he helped the Yamhill County Food Bank by participating in YCAP’s annual Melt Down grilled cheese fundraiser.

Diane Longaker, who organized the Melt Down in its first four years, shared the news of his death Sunday. She called him “larger than life, an amazing cheesy peep and an extraordinary friend to many.”

Drakeley was also a board member of the Celtic Heritage Alliance, which hosts the McMinnville Scottish Festival, and helped make key connections with large brands in the food and drink industry, said Chris McLaran, CHA board president.

“Ricky was one of those guys that would give the shirt off his back for anybody. ... He treated everyone like royalty when you came in,” McLaran said. “He was genuine to everybody. He accepted you no matter where you came from or who you were.”

Ossie Bladine contributed to this story.

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