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Vacant Ruby's on Pier May Be Replaced by ... Ruby's?

The former manager of the shuttered business applies to reopen the restaurant as a franchise. He's the only applicant. However, the city has extended the application deadline.

The only business in the running to replace the vacant Ruby’s at the end of the Seal Beach Pier? 

Ruby’s.

Art Haack, former manager of the now-shuttered ‘50s-style burger joint, wants to reopen the biz as a franchise, according to Seal Beach city staff.

And Haack is the sole applicant.

But, city staff say, the deal ain’t done.  

A handful of other restaurants has expressed interest in taking the spot, and some want more time to apply.

So Seal Beach extended the application deadline by six weeks, according to Jim Basham, Seal Beach director of community development.

“We don’t want to see it vacant,” Basham said. “It is a focal point or a highlight in the community.”

Last year, after the restaurant’s owner and city officials failed to agree on new lease terms, Ruby’s notified the city it would no longer operate on the pier. In January, the city announced the business was leaving, and many patrons said they were sad to see the Seal Beach landmark vanish after being there more than 25 years.

The last day of business was Jan. 6, and the last day to move out was Jan. 10. After Ruby’s closure, the city began an official search for a new restaurant to fill the spot, asking for interested businesses to fill out an application by Feb. 22.

Now, with a new deadline of April 12, Basham said he expects to release the updated application on Tuesday. 

According to Property Manager Bill Packard, who maintains the former Ruby's site, the new application removes some of the requirements of the original application. For example, the city no longer requires the business to do a market survey and now has to submit a just a two-year-business plan instead of a five-year plan.

Anyone interested can contact the city at (562) 431-2527 and ask for the development services department.

According to city staff, Ruby’s was on a 10-year lease, which expired in October. Assistant City Manager Sean 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.

At the time of the closure announcement, the 30-year-old Newport Beach chain, which has restaurants on the Oceanside, Balboa and Huntington Beach piers, had no plans for further closures, according to a Ruby's spokesman. The restaurant had been in the city since 1987.

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Shelly G February 26, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Wow, so lets postpone it further. Sounds like the City doesn't actually want Ruby's there. If they have already applied and have already submitted plans to repair the building and add patio dining, etc. What's the real issue here City Hall? I can't imagine another chain wanting it and I can't imagine another non-chain restaurant making it there. Ruby's was even rolling over the idea of a small shuttle to the restaurant, how cool would that be! Your not getting any income right now, what's the real issue here?
CDC February 26, 2013 at 06:27 PM
They could put that planned Chick-Fil-A out there.
enea ostrich February 26, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Plain and simple, no Ruby's on the Seal Beach pier, in my opinion, is a MISTAKE. Considering you need a big draw to survive on the pier, and considering no other applicants are falling over themselves to start a new biz on the pier...I think evaluating what Ruby's has applied for is an option to be reckoned with. Whatever the issues WERE, they can be dealt with NOW, as everyone knows all city issues can be dealt with in a professional manner and be resolved without further problems. Really, when you think about it....why would someone go through the trouble of reestablishing a business on a pier, knowing how HARd it is to keep it up? The city needs to consider that this isn't primo property even though you think it would be for a business because it has a water view. Anyhow, hope it all works out for an icon like Ruby's is really part of the "Mayberry by the Sea" effect we have here in Seal Beach.
Edgar February 26, 2013 at 09:02 PM
"Mayberrry by the Sea" oh please gag me with a pier plank....sounds like the local government idiots should be served a huge plate of "Crow" if Ruby's decides to come back.
susan February 26, 2013 at 10:00 PM
hate to say it, but If the food was better, I'd support Ruby's 100 percent.
James Icenogle February 27, 2013 at 01:42 AM
Wouldn't it be great if the Crab Cooker from Balboa would open up on our pier? !
CDC February 27, 2013 at 03:08 AM
Not really, Less than a mile away they have a Crab Pot and Joe's Crab Shack in Alamitos Bay Marina. Both are right on the water and both are huge. We don't need another "crab" restaurant. People go to "The Fish Company" if they want good fish dining. Also, it is really hard to walk all the way out to the end of the pier. Most older people can't do that walk plus it gets cold out there. Only tourist do it. Main street restaurants do much better with the locals. Maybe they can do a few very small businesses out on it like Santa Barbara's Stearns Wharf. However, Stearns Wharf has parking on the pier and it is way wider. It would be nice if they could make the base of Seal Beach pier three times as wide for more shops. It could be an extension of main street. Currently, just a lot of worthless poured cement and restrooms at the foot of the SB pier. Not a good use for PRIME beach real estate. Seal Beach needs to get their act together. http://www.stearnswharf.org
formerSBer February 27, 2013 at 01:30 PM
how about not having ANYTHING out there...except maybe some benches for relaxing. Maybe a coffee kiosk, at the most. Why does it always have to be about MONEY?
kkkkrgg February 27, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Chick-fil-a would never work out because they are closed on Sundays. Personally I think if Nicks would open there the pier would be hoppin in the morning. He should team up with someone like taco surf or el burrito and then they could do an evening business too.
S.A.P. February 27, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Comparing a local NB classic like the Crab Cooker with an awful restaurant like the Crab Pot or an even worse chain like Joe's Crab Shack is ridiculous. I wouldn't eat at the other 2 for FREE, but I sure would walk to the end of the pier for Crab Cooker. To claim that "people" would go to Los Al for "good fish dining" when we have Walt's, Captain Jack's & Mahe a mile or less away would be even more ridiculous. Make the base of the pier wider for more shops? Now I'm ROTFLMAO. If I am remembering correctly, CDC hates Seal Beach, and it shows.
S.A.P. February 27, 2013 at 05:59 PM
I'd love to help you out with that, Edgar. I'll bring the pier plank.
Edgar April 05, 2013 at 08:20 PM
“We don’t want to see it vacant,” Basham said. “It is a focal point or a highlight in the community.” Well Gee Whiz dude why didn't the city consider that first...how much revenue has the city lost due to lack of critical business skills . By the time they figure out some plan the summer will be over before they can reopen . Guess the local city government took lessons from our federal government in DC….

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