Goodbye Ruby’s Thursday. Seal Beach is going to miss you.
After more than 25 years at the end of the Seal Beach Pier, Ruby’s Diner has flipped its last burger. Though Sunday was the business's final day of service, Thursday was its last day to close-up shop.
And at about 1:17 p.m. on a blustery afternoon, the place was dead. A solitary pigeon walked behind a closed gate. A sign on the gate read “No Trespassers. Violators will be prosecuted.”
On Jan. 3 the city announced the restaurant was leaving.
“It’s sad to see,” said Ron Perron as he walked along the pier Thursday with his wife of 46 years. The two had lived in Seal Beach for decades before moving to Sandpoint Idaho in 1995. This week, the couple is back in town visiting family.
When they were locals, the Perrons said, Ruby’s was often part of their evening plan. They’d go to a restaurant on the shore, and then walk to the edge of the pier and get a coke or shake at Ruby’s.
“It’s always been a landmark,” said Perron. “We always walk out to it.”
“It was perfect,” said Mary Perron.
“The perfect spot,” Ron Perron added.
A number of residents walked up to the fence to see what had happened. One woman, who didn’t want to be named, said she hadn’t even heard it was leaving the city.
“It’s sad to see,” said Jeff Miller, a Rossmoor resident. “It had a lot of memories."
However, Miller added, he thinks Seal Beach will fill the spot with something similar.
“I’m sure they’ll have some other restaurant,” Miller said.
Sean Crumby, assistant city manager, said the city is hoping to start a search for interested businesses to take over the empty space.
“We’re looking a replacement," Crumby said. "And we’ve already gotten a few calls from numerous interested parties.”
Crumby said the city is still ironing out a plan to take care of the property until a new business comes in.
According to Crumby, Ruby’s was on a ten-year lease with the city, which expired in October. Crumby said the business decided not to renew the lease and instead went to a month-to-month leasing arrangement, which Ruby’s ended in January.
“I can’t comment as to why they would have decided to leave,” Crumby said.
Tad Belshe, executive vice president of operations for Ruby’s Diner, said the move was a “business decision.”
“It’s sad for us to leave the Seal Beach Pier, but you know as a business, it happens,” Belshe said.
According to Belshe, Ruby’s and the city couldn’t “come to an agreeable, happy ending,” over the property, but he declined to go into specifics.
“We respect the city’s proposal, and the city respects us for not being able to get there,” he said. “We just didn’t come to terms. There are so many components. There’s not one thing … It’s the whole package.”
“And it just didn’t make sense,” he added.
Belshe said the company is trying to find positions for the site’s former workers at other Ruby’s locations in the surrounding area, and he urges locals to try the Ruby’s a few miles north, at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Westminster.
According to Belshe, the restaurant had been in the city since its grand opening Sept. 13, 1987.