San Diego-Based Rubio’s Coastal Grill Files For Bankruptcy

June 5, 2024

After suddenly closing dozens of stores last week, San Diego-based Rubio's Coastal Grill has now filed for bankruptcy for the second time in four years.

On Friday, May 31, San Diego-born fish taco and fast-casual Mexican brand Rubio's Coastal Grill shuttered more than a dozen locations in the area and nearly 50 in total, with employees alleging they received no advance notice. The company has now announced it has filed for bankruptcy protection with the intended goal of selling the business. This is the second time Rubio's has filed for bankruptcy, as the company initially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2020. 

"Rubio's Coastal Grill is one of the legendary fast-casual chains with a strong and loyal customer following in its communities," explained Nicholas Rubin, chief restructuring officer of Rubio’s Coastal Grill. "Despite the company’s best efforts to right-size the company, the continued challenging economic conditions have negatively impacted its ability to meet the demands of its debt burden. The company believes the best path forward for Rubio’s is through a court-supervised sale process that will position the brand for long-term success to grow and flourish."

The company's public relations firms issued a statement saying the company will continue to operate the remaining 86 locations of Rubio's Coastal Grill. Rubio’s attributed its declining performance to the challenges of doing business in California, where a recent wage hike to $20 an hour for fast food workers has taken effect. 

Rubio's announced plans to enter into a "stalking horse purchase agreement" to sell the business to an entity formed and controlled by its existing lender after reviewing from a pool of bidders. The sale is expected to be completed within 75 days. The company will seek court approval to continue operations during this period, ensuring employees continue to receive their pay and benefits.      

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, as well as nearly 30 addition branches in San Diego County. Rubio’s Coastal Grill once boasted close to 200 restaurants.

For more information about Rubio's Coastal Grill, visit