LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A popular Louisville restaurateur has died.
Dean Corbett, known by many around town as “Deano," died Saturday. A cause of death has not been confirmed.
Corbett was already running the popular Equus in St. Matthews when he launched Corbett’s: An American Place about a decade ago. Both remained at the forefront of Louisville’s restaurant boom until his namesake haunt closed last year.
And earlier this year, he sold Equus and its companion bar, Jack’s Lounge. Corbett stayed on at Equus as executive chef after the sale.
“When he bought Equus in 1985, I thought, ‘Can he really do that? Can he really own a restaurant?’" veteran food writer and longtime Corbett friend Steve Coomes told WAVE 3 News on Saturday night. "And 33 years later here we are. He was a tremendous guy to work with.”
As recognizable as the affable Corbett was among hospitality circles, he was just as beloved for his local charity work. In particular, he raised millions of dollars for Norton’s Children’s Hospital and Gilda’s Club.
“He helped raise so many dollars that translated into helping thousands of families who are living with cancer," Gilda’s Club President Karen Morrison said. "You know he himself was a cancer survivor and had many friends who dealt with cancer.”
Kevin Harned, WAVE 3 News' Chief Meteorologist and host of "Secrets of Louisville Chefs," worked with Corbett many times over the years.
“Deano was loved by many, but by none more than those of us who worked with him on Secrets of Louisville Chefs,” Harned said. “He was the Dean of Louisville Chefs and always will be. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Corbett leaves behind a wife and three kids.
“He just made a great impact anywhere he went," Morrison said.