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.
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!
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.