Rubio’s co-founder celebrates 20 years in Del Mar Highlands with new look

Inside the new Rubio's in Del Mar Highlands Town Center.
(Karen Billing)

Ralph Rubio, the co-founder of Rubio’s Coastal Grill, was put to work on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at Del Mar Highlands Town Center making the new Smoky Oaxacan Shrimp Street Tacos for VIP guests.

“With the food, it starts with great ingredients,” Rubio said, describing the traditional artisan tortilla-making process that Rubio’s has been using for over 30 years—using corn that is stone-ground on a hand-carved lava stone. He then stuffed the tortilla full of sustainable, farm-raised grilled shrimp and topped it with fresh guacamole, cotija cheese and creamy Oaxacan sauce.

Rubio's co-founder Ralph Rubio.
(Karen Billing)

The special Taco Tuesday event celebrated the remodel of the Carmel Valley Rubio’s and the restaurant’s 20-year anniversary in the center.

Twenty years ago, Rubio’s took over the space that was formerly the breakfast spot Le Peep and they have been serving the Del Mar and Carmel Valley community ever since.

“This restaurant is one of the crown jewels in the Rubio’s system, it’s our number one store in terms of sales,” Rubio said.

The Rubio’s refresh has been a long time coming—the restaurant closed for two weeks to create the new look that includes a word wall that reads “Live Everyday Like It’s Taco Tuesday”, bright colors, new lighting, a remodeled fresh salsa bar and an expanded patio with new lounge furniture.

“This is a very unique design for Rubio’s, there’s no other restaurant that looks like this one,” Rubio said.

The Sept. 17 event also celebrated the launch of the new Rubio’s app. Download it for free at and get a free taco and start racking up personalized rewards.

Guests enjoy the newly remodeled Rubio's.
(Karen Billing)