Our History


The idea for Ruby’s Diner was born in 1980 after a run on the beach. Doug Cavanaugh had just returned to his native Southern California after successfully restoring and running a restaurant on Nantucket Island off Cape Cod. One evening he was brainstorming about business opportunities with his father, and remembered that he had seen a dilapidated building at the end of Balboa Pier while jogging along the beach. Although the building was in pretty bad shape, Cavanaugh noticed its architecture really lent itself well to that of a 1940’s diner. With his father’s encouragement, Cavanaugh started to make the restaurant a reality.

To enlist help for the project, Cavanaugh reached out to his friend, Ralph Kosmides. After they obtained a long-term lease on the building that had once been a bait shop, Cavanaugh and Kosmides decided to move forward with a 1940’s American diner theme to bring back the fun and nostalgia of the era.

To make the diner feel authentic, Cavanaugh and Kosmides scavenged antique and memorable stores in Southern California for 1940’s artifacts. After remodeling most of the building themselves, Cavanaugh and Kosmides opened the doors about a year later on December 7th, 1982. Much to her surprise, the tiny-45 seat restaurant was named after Cavanaugh’s mother, Ruby.

With three employees and a simple menu of hamburgers, hot dogs and malts, the restaurant brought in a whopping $63 on its first day.

Although Cavanaugh and Kosmides were nervous on opening day, they were encouraged when they saw people walk around the pier, look into the diner and smile. “It was as if they were remembering a simpler, happier time,” says Kosmides. With this success in hand, Cavanaugh and Kosmides realized that they had tapped into something that appealed to a wide range of people of all ages.

Now, 35 years after Cavanaugh saw the run-down building at the end of the pier, Ruby’s Diners can be found in all different parts of the country, such as Houston, New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania, and is continuing to expand – with 35 locations currently open.

To learn more about Ruby’s Diner, visit Ruby’s in the News.

In addition, did you know Ruby’s Dinner has a big heart for our community? Each year Ruby’s Diner, through the Ruby Dooby Foundation, supports the Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit along with providing support for the Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome (CCHS). Our foundation is dedicated to the health and well-being of children and we invite you to get involved.

Visit the Ruby Dooby Foundation to learn more and about how you can show your support.

Yes, there really is a Ruby

Did you know that our founder, Doug Cavanaugh, decided to name the restaurant after his mother, Ruby? After finding a high school cheerleading head shot of his mom, the face of Ruby’s was born. With hair curled and hair ribbon perfectly placed, the charm and simplicity of the 1940’s was captured with our classic logo of Ruby.

Our Mission

Our motto, “Only the best for our guest,” is not just a saying; it’s one of our core values. “We are committed to exceeding our guests’ expectations of us.  This means that we must always provide great food and spectacular service in a sparkling clean restaurant,” states Ruby’s founder, Doug Cavanaugh.

The Ruby Restaurant Group

201 Shipyard Way, Suite E
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Tel 949.644.7829
Fax 949.644.4625