Ruby’s Diner on the Seal Beach Pier is going the way of poodle skirts and twenty-cent shakes.
The iconic restaurant will close its doors Jan. 10 after the 25 years of slinging burgers for beachgoers. After the restaurant’s owner and city officials failed to agree on new lease terms, the 50s era restaurant notified the city that it would no longer operate on the pier.
“We hate losing piers. We love piers – there aren’t that many of them,” said Tad Belshe, Ruby’s executive vice president of operations. “It’s been a pleasure. We love these beach communities and serving the public.”
The 30-year-old Newport Beach chain, which has restaurants on the Oceanside, Balboa and Huntington Beach piers has no plans for further closures, said Belshe. The company is planning to expand with new locations in Orange County and San Diego malls and a new quick-serve model, Belshe said. The decision to close in Seal Beach stems from failed lease agreement negotiations between the franchise partner and the city, Belshe said.
Ruby’s 10-year lease with the city expired in October, and the owner had hoped to extend the lease and renovate the restaurant, said Belshe. However, the city sought to open up the process to bids from other restaurateurs eager to open on the pier, he said. The Seal Beach Ruby’s owner decided not to operate and renovate in the face of such uncertainty, said Belshe.
“That’s business,” Belshe said. “From a Ruby’s standpoint, we have had a wonderful relationship with the city, and I think they are moving in a different direction where they want to get the best option available.”
"We'll just have to look for another option on the pier," said Mayor Gary Miller.
Assistant City Manager Sean Crumby said he couldn’t speculate about Ruby’s reasons for leaving.
“We are in the process of moving forward with finding a restaurant for the end of the pier,” said Crumby. “We are just looking for the best fit for Seal Beach. Right now, we are looking at family restaurants.”
Restaurateurs looking to open shop at the end of the second largest wooden pier on the west coast can expect to shell out as much as $5,000 to 10,000 per month. Interested businesses should contact Crumby at 562-431-2527 x 1318.
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