What can one say about the Oceanside Ruby’s at the end of the iconic local pier. Nostalgic and delicious may come to mind. If you are lucky enough to bring a date on a June day and the upstairs outside seating area is not too crowded you may call it perfection. However you feel about the long walk to and from the restaurant, everyone knows it as an Oceanside must do.
The idea was hatched in the early eighties by Doug Cavanaugh and he presented the investment idea to a few buddies from high school. Cavanaugh and his crew did extensive research of diners across the U.S. and came up with the 1940s Rosie the Riveter and the post-war golden age of America theme for the restaurant. They opened the first Ruby’s as a quaint 45 seat diner at the end of the Ocean Beach pier in 1982. Cavanaugh named the restaurant after his mother Ruby, and by the 1990s it had turned into a 27 restaurant franchise.
The service is pretty friendly, they make you feel comfortable. All the seating areas were well thought out when the plans were drawn up. Every booth or table in the place has a unique view of the Pacific Ocean. It almost seems that they have an acting coach present when they train new employees because every server gives you that “Gee Wally that’s swell,” feeling. It’s like stepping into a time machine in search of burgers.
The food, yes, of course, the food, we can’t forget that. If you love a good burger from a restaurant you are not going to top Ruby’s. They boast a full menu of all the diner fare but I would highly suggest that you try the Cobb Burger. Topped with thick-cut bacon, melted Bleu cheese, fresh avocado, crisp lettuce, tomato and sun-dried tomato mayo and is to die for. Did I mention that Ruby’s has all the breakfast foods you could get back on land. From experience, I would say that a walk down the pier to Ruby’s makes for an unforgettable morning. And that leads us to the “pièces de résistance” their milkshakes. Yes, they are perfection served up sweet. The chocolate banana really stands out from the crowd; the Oreo ain’t no slacker either.
The real Ruby left this world in December of 2015, but the diner continues to be a landmark eatery in So Cal. It is a must-do when here in beautiful Downtown Oceanside as well.