Rubio's Coastal Grill Abruptly Closes Over A Dozen San Diego Locations, Employees Allege Lack Of Prior Notice

May 31, 2024

San Diego-born fish taco and fast-casual Mexican brand Rubio's Coastal Grill has suddenly shuttered more than a dozen locations in the area, with employees alleging they received no advance notice.

After being inspired the fried fish tacos he found in Baja's San Felipe, MX, during a trip during spring break, San Diego-native and SDSU-alum Ralph Rubio founded the first Rubio's restaurant in 1983 at a former Orange Julius site on Mission Bay Drive in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. Since then, the chain ballooned to a high of over 200 locations and sold more than 200 million fish tacos. 

In August 2010, Rubio's Restaurants, Inc. announced the closing of its merger with a subsidiary of Mill Road Capital, L.P. to take the company private. The original location at the entrance to San Diego's Pacific Beach remains open to this day.  
In late October 2020, the Carlsbad-based fast-casual Mexican brand announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. Today, a Rubio's Coastal Grill spokesperson confirmed the company has closed 48 underperforming locations in California as of May 31, while keeping 86 locations open around California, Arizona and Nevada.

"...The closings were brought about by the rising cost of doing business in California. While painful, the store closures are a necessary step in our strategic long-term plan to position Rubio’s for success for years to come," explained the Rubio's spokesperson.

The following San Diego-based Rubio's locations are closing after end of business on Friday May 31: 910 Grand Avenue in Pacific Beach; 8935 Towne Centre Dr., Suite 100, in La Jolla; 437 Highway 101, Suite #117, in Solana Beach; 1480 Eastlake Parkway, Suite 901, in Chula Vista; 1485 East Valley Parkway, Suite A-6, in Escondido; 9187 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Suite 7, in Kearny Mesa; 419 Parkway Plaza in El Cajon; 9500 Gillman Drive, in the Food Court of UCSD; 1711 University Drive, Suite 110, in Vista;  9254 Scranton Road, Suite 105, in Sorrento Mesa; 1158 West San Marcos Boulevard, Suite A, in San Marcos; 7835 Highlands Village Place, Suite D101, in Torrey Highlands; and 2260 Callagan Highway Building, Unit 3187, at the Naval Exchange Main in Barrio Logan. 
Some now-former Rubio's employees claim the company failed to give any advanced notice, and many are wondering if the company violated state law. 

"Former employee after today," wrote one former Rubio's employee. "They legit told us this morning when we showed up for work that today was going to be our last day. No severance no warning nada. I’m not sure exactly what locations are going but it’s a ton of them."

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act likely applies to the displaced Rubio's workers in California, as it covers most private employers with 75 or more employees who have worked for that employer for at least six of the last twelve months. Under WARN, employers are generally required to provide advance notice of mass layoffs or plant closures, typically at least 60 days in advance, to affected employees and certain government entities. Since the Rubio's closure affects multiple locations and potentially many employees, it would likely trigger the requirements of the WARN Act.

"I just got laid off from my location early today," wrote another former employee. "My manager called me on my day off and thanked me for my work and told me 52 locations were closing as of today and that she and the district manager lost their jobs. I went to the restaurant and my other manager confirmed so she let us take some food and dishes home since they were not coming back tomorrow."

For more information about Rubio's Coastal Grill, visit