Ruby's Redondo Beach closing

Kim Harper, the general manager of Ruby's Diner in Redondo Beach said the restaurant had to suddenly close for good on Sept. 8 due to financial troubles created by the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Richard Guzman)

It was a classic car show hot spot and a popular place for locals to grab a burger, fries and a shake by the water, but after 30 years in business, the Ruby’s Diner in Redondo Beach suddenly closed its doors for good Sept. 8.

“We’re very sad, been devastated the last three days for my staff, my employees. If you were a customer here you know we were much more than a restaurant, we were a family and it’s been very hard on everyone,” said Kim Harper, the general manager of the Seaside Lagoon restaurant on Thursday morning as she handed out final paychecks to her staff.

Most restaurants are struggling to stay afloat while complying with dining restrictions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and Ruby’s Diner at 245 N. Harbor Drive, which opened in 1990, was no exception. Harper said the news came as a surprise when the restaurant’s owner told her they were closing Tuesday.

“A lot has to do with COVID-19. My boss came in and it was a very sudden closure and he informed us that day it was going to be closing and it was closed within the next hour,” she said while she stood by the restaurant’s front door where staff had placed a sign to inform customers of the sudden closure.

The show’s Facebook page broke the news to many car fans with a post Wednesday morning.

“Here’s an update as of today 9/9/20 Ruby’s Redondo Beach will be closing its doors for business, with no plans to reopen. Sorry for the bad news, it was a fun 15 years of car shows,” part of the post read.

The post was followed by more than 60 comments from disappointed customers and classic car fans.

“Very sad news….Hope something works out and you can reopen. Redondo will not be the same without you,” one Facebook comment read.

“We thank you for your years of support and the customers who have turned into family,” part of the sign read. And while the sign also informs customers that the restaurant is “closing its doors indefinitely,” the closure is permanent, Harper said.

“With wintertime approaching and just being at limited occupancy (on the patio) and in LA not being able to open (inside) is where we were left,” Harper said.

The restaurant employed 40 people and is part of a franchise chain of 1940s themed restaurants that started on the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach in 1982.

There are now about two dozen Ruby’s Diners across California and in other states such as Arizona and Texas.

With its retro-style decor that included red vinyl booths and a large parking lot at Seaside Lagoon, for years the Redondo Beach location was a popular spot for weekly classic car shows and meetups.

One particularly popular event was the Friday night “Cruise at the Beach” car show, which eventually grew to include more than 200 classic cars parked in front of the restaurant while hundreds of car aficionados admired the rides.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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