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Ruby’s Diner Celebrates 35th Anniversary by Bringing the Best of the 1940s Back to Life in Diners Across the Country

From its roots in a restored bait house to its current franchise system that’s growing across the country, Ruby’s Diner has come a long way since its first restaurant opened on California’s Balboa Pier in 1982.

By Cassidy McAloonSenior Writer
SPONSORED 5:17PM 12/06/17

Today, Ruby’s Diner is known for being a restaurant concept that perfectly combines the nostalgia of a classic American 1940s diner with modern technology and exceptional customer service. However, 35 years ago, the brand was nothing more than an idea dreamed up by founder and CEO Doug Cavanaugh.

While running on the beach in 1980, Cavanaugh noticed an old, dilapidated building at the end of Balboa Pier. Right away, he recognized the potential to turn the forgotten bait house into something more—he envisioned a restaurant that brought back the “good old days.” But when he approached the city to rebuild the building at the end of the pier, he was told that he didn’t have enough experience to take that kind of project on.

Unwilling to accept “no” for an answer, Cavanaugh moved to the East Coast where he owned and operated a restaurant with an attached bed and breakfast on Nantucket. Two years later—after he had gained some first-hand industry experience—Cavanaugh returned to the Balboa Pier and once again asked for the rights to the property. This time around, the answer was “yes.” And in 1982, Ruby’s Diner officially opened its doors for business.

“When I first leased the building at the end of Balboa Pier, it was falling apart. And because I didn’t have an unlimited budget, my friends and I learned how to do what we couldn’t afford in order to restore it,” said Cavanaugh. “My goal in building Ruby’s from the ground up was to recreate the style of a classic 1940’s diner as accurately as possible. At the time, there weren’t many diners competing in the restaurant space. And even though our concept has been mimicked many times, we’re still in a league of our own 35 years after first opening our doors.”

Today, Ruby’s Diner is known for serving classic American fare—including top quality burgers, fries and milkshakes—in a one of a kind environment. Designed to look like a diner straight out of the 1940s, each Ruby’s location brings the best old school vibes together with modern technology and top tier customer service. That unique combination of the old and the new ensures that the brand isn’t boxing itself into one category—Ruby’s appeals to a wide range of customers, including those who make up the next generation of American consumers.

It’s that forward-thinking approach that’s enabled Ruby’s Diner to reach its milestone 35th birthday. The brand is officially celebrating the momentous occasion on December 7th, 2017. To mark the special event, Ruby’s is offering a special featuring a RubyBurger with French fries for just $2.99. A portion of each order of the RubyBurger with French fries special sold will also go to the brand’s charitable arm that supports children’s wellness organizations, The Ruby Dooby Foundation, with $5,000 of the total donation to be given to Spark of Love, a toy drive and distribution initiative that benefits foster youth and caregivers.

“At the end of the day, this business is all about connecting with people. Part of that means giving back to the communities that we call home, which is a responsibility we don’t take lightly. We couldn’t imagine a better way to celebrate 35 years of success than by donating some of our proceeds to The Ruby Dooby Foundation,” said Cavanaugh. “When I first founded Ruby’s, I wasn’t envisioning where the brand would be today. But seeing how our concept resonates with old and young customers alike continuously inspires me to keep moving forward. We’re grateful to be celebrating our 35th anniversary, and we’re looking forward to seeing many more milestone birthdays in the years to come.”

To learn more about Ruby’s Diner, please visit