Monday, February 23, 2009

My Town Monday: Rubio's



Sometime in the latter half of the 70s, Ralph Rubio and his buddies did what a lot of San Diego college students do at Spring Break. They took off for San Felipe, Baja, Mexico.

And while in San Felipe, Ralph and his friends did what a lot of San Diego college students do. They noshed on fish tacos from local stands.

Then Ralph came home and did what a lot of San Diego college students don't do. He borrowed $16,000 from his dad (well, actually, a lot of college students probably do do this! Ha!) and, in 1983, he opened a Mexican restaurant in a former Orange Julius location on Mission Bay Drive in the Pacific Beach area. The restaurant offered such fare as fries, calamari and, what has become Rubio's signature dish, fish tacos.

What's in a Rubio's fish taco? "Crispy beer-battered fish, shredded cabbage, mild salsa and...tangy white sauce" in a soft corn tortilla. Yes, you can have a flour tortilla if you ask. The fish is usually Alaskan pollock. Quite, quite delicious.  Fish tacos (not Rubios, per se, but fish tacos we prepare on site) are a huge money-making item at our high school swim meet snack bar. Just to give you an idea of how popular an item these are in my neck of the woods.

At Rubio's, I'm also partial to the lobster burrito which was renamed the Langostino Lobster Burrito, following a lawsuit over the contents (langostino vs lobster) in 2005. However, I eat it sparingly because it has over SEVEN HUNDRED CALORIES AND 34 GRAMS OF FAT! Yowzer!

There are now about 180 Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants (called "Rubio's" by the locals) mostly in California, but with some locations in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah.

Not bad for guy who enjoyed a fish taco at the side of an avenida in Baja Mexico.

And a current goal of Ralph's? To open a Rubio's in Manhattan!

Can I just say that I've enjoyed lots of dishes while traveling, but it NEVER EVER occurred to me to come home and open a restaurant. Where do these courageous, creative thinkers come from? Ya gotta love 'em!


                           Ralph Rubio

Please trundle over to Travis Erwin's blog. He's our Fearless Leader for My Town Mondays. Along with his own MTM, he'll have a list of participants.


Sources:
http://www.sddt.com/files/media/view7.cfmmedia=AEBYDGQDhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubio's_Fresh_Mexican_Grill
http://www.sdbj.com/article.aspaID=33973963.1503214.1602913.7139949.7431284.932&aID2=123292
http://www.sandiegotraveltips.com/
http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050701/news_1b1rubios.html


Baja Fish Tacos on Foodista

36 comments:

Kristen Painter said...

Fish tacos are like crack to me. Such an amazing combo of flavors!

Kristina P. said...

Rubios is delicious! I need to remember that we have one close to us.

Barrie said...

Kristen: they are pretty addictive. :)

Kristina: We just got a Rubio's in our town. Yay!

Teresa said...

Great post, Barrie. There are Rubio's all over our area (the OC), but I never knew the history.

blueviolet said...

It's so cool to hear the history behind it. I've heard of the place but have never been. :)

Georgie B said...

Ahhh...the great food that one has to try elsewhere in this country.

Thanks for a great food review of something in your backyard.

debra said...

I've never had a fish taco. Sounds tasty.

Beth said...

How come my kids were never inspired to do something like this after one of their (wild) college trips to Mexico? (And would I have loaned them $16,000.00 to do it?)

Jenn Jilks said...

Delicious post. Almost all of our dining establishments are closed in our small town. Both spring, and the tourists, will return after May's long weekend.

Everyone is frozen here, with double-digit negative temperatures anticipated tonight, and this yummy post warms the soul! This is something I could recreate at home, tho'.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I'm sure Travis would disagree but there's nothing better in a taco or burito than fish.

Junosmom said...

I'm kind of dubious of anything fish, not having been raised eating fish or seafood of anykind. But, I do like fried fish, (and I'm learning to eat other kinds), so maybe I'd give this a try.

Bina said...

I, too, wonder about people like that. I think they were born to "make it" while the rest of us (like me) wonder how they do it!!! But Yea for him! I bet my husband would LOVE a fish taco.

Chantal said...

I have heard the saying that we each have a 1 million dollar idea every day. Just most of us don't act on it...

Mac and Cheese said...

Don't think we have Rubios in Canada. Never had a fish taco, but I know I won't EVER have a 700 calorie lobster one. I'd rather eat several donuts.

the epic rat said...

Hm, I never had fish tacos...but that picture is making me drool! This is the last time I'm visiting your blog on an empty stomach!

Fish tacos, white chocolate macadamia nut cookies...what next? :P

Mary said...

I'm gonna have to try these--- they look delicious!

sara said...

looks delish! Excuse me while I go wipe off the drool.

laughingwolf said...

hmmm here i sit in the 'fishiest' of towns [in canada?], halifax, and no one offers that kind of treat!

thx barrie....

Travis Erwin said...

Help me ... too ... much ... green ... stuff.

I'm growing weaker by the minute just reading about it.

Charles Gramlich said...

That actually looks pretty good.

Patti said...

did you and travis devise this cruel plot of showcasing food to make us insanely hungry?! off to the kitchen i go...yum.

angie said...

Their fish tacos are divine!

Keri Mikulski said...

Looks yummy!

Keri Mikulski said...

Looks yummy!

Bookworm said...

That taco picture is totally making me hungry...(:

Beth Yarnall said...

I love their fish tacos! Great post.

Sepiru Chris said...

Tasty post.

David Cranmer said...

Ok, I'm hungry. I have not had breakfast yet but after seeing that pic, I'm now ready for dinner!

Mary Witzl said...

I wish I hadn't read this. I'm dying for Mexican food and the guacamole on the top of that tostado is what really makes me swoon...

Barbara Martin said...

Gosh, now I want one and a beer; and it's almost bedtime. That's what I call a great post, Barrie!

Kathy Holmes said...

Yummo! Love fish tacos and they're even better at the beach. Gotta get out of the desert - I'm up in the middle of the night craving fish tacos. LOL!

~Virginia~ said...

i was merely hungry when i first read your blog.

now i'm STARVING!!!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

That fish taco looks mighty yummy! I get my fix at Berryhill, which also got its start in Baja (or because of Baja), I believe. But I go for the grilled fish over the fried--delish! I will definitely look out for a Rubio's next time I'm in the area.

Amy said...

mmmm, i'm hungry now;)
-amy

Emily said...

Seriously, those look amazing! -e

Laura said...

Why am I so hungry all of the sudden?