The idea for Ruby’s Diner was born in 1980 after a run on the beach. Doug Cavanaugh had just returned to his native Southern California after successfully restoring and running a restaurant on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod. One evening he was brainstorming about business opportunities with his father and remembered that he had seen a dilapidated building at the end of Balboa Pier while jogging along the beach. “Although the building is in pretty bad shape now, its architecture really lends itself well to that of a 1940’s diner. I wonder if I could get the place from the city and turn it into a diner that would bring back the fun and nostalgia of that era?” he said. With his father’s encouragement, Cavanaugh started to make the restaurant a reality. While deciding on the exact style of restaurant they would build, the pair began extensive research on American diners. Their research confirmed Cavanaugh’s initial idea about creating a 1940’s diner concept because, “that’s when balboa had its heyday!” says Cavanaugh. To make the restaurant feel authentic, Cavanaugh and Kosmides combed antique and memorabilia stores throughout Southern California to find 1940’s artifacts and did most of the remodeling of the building themselves.
Nearly a full year and $80,000 later, Ruby’s diner opened on December 7th, 1982 with three employees and a simple, straight-forward diner menu of hamburgers, hot dogs, and malts. Much to her surprise, the tiny 45-seat restaurant was named after Cavanaugh’s mother, Ruby.
With even stronger growth planned for the future, the Irvine-based Ruby Restaurant Group has begun an aggressive program to attract franchisees in other areas of the country.
Regardless of the number of restaurants Ruby’s opens, however, the Company is committed to never lose sight of what Cavanaugh and Kosmides consider the “basics”. “We are committed to exceeding our guests’ expectations of us. This means that we must always provide great food and spectacular service in a sparkling clean restaurant,” states Cavanaugh. “As our motto says, ‘Only the best for our guest!’”
When we were invited by Ruby’s Diner to come and see all about their new Summer Shake Lineup, we did not pass up the chance. Ruby’s looks just like an old diner that I would see in movies. I love the decor and the bright yet relaxed style the whole restaurant has.
Of course, I went to the shake menu first, just to find out they have over 20 flavors of shakes to choose from, including Oreo Cookie Fantasy or Mud Pie Shake, wow, maybe I should just skip dinner! We had the chance to try the three new shakes that they are introducing on June 15, Double Dark, Heath, and KitKat. Yum! I loved all three, you can taste iwhen you are having quality!
Their menu is pretty straight forward with, burgers, sandwiches, a few other bigger dinner options, some salads, and, of course, their fries, onion rings and shakes.
My husband chose the kids grilled cheese sandwich which came with a side of applesauce, it looked fabulous and he seemed to really enjoy it. I had the Albacore Tuna Melt and it was just wonderful. The service was great, very friendly and rather made you feel like you were in another time in a much smaller town. I think that made the restaurant as great as the food did.
When they serve their food it is hot and looks good, there were no messy burgers and shakes with stuff dripping down everything was handled and served with care.
I think that Ruby’s would make a great date night with just you and your honey, or a great place to stop for dinner with the whole family, all ages will love this unique gem of a restaurant, some of your friends might even remember when all diners looked like this!
Overall Ruby’s Diner has something for everyone good down to earth food options, nothing far out or exotic (well maybe that pineapple shake) and it is served looking good tasting good by people who care about the impression they leave with their guests.