Ranch & Coast Magazine

June 2023

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Rubio laughs and admits changes in latitude bring change in attitude about the fish taco. It becomes a harder sell as you go farther north from the border. Personally, though, he quickly took the bait. "I've always been a pretty adventurous eater," he says. "It's a Rubio trait. My family was raised that way. I was super open to the idea. When I took my first bite of a fish taco, I fell in love." Love was in his eyes when he opened that first Mission Beach shop. "I was looking at it through my lens," he says. "'If you build it, they will come.' Well, I didn't realize people had this aversion to the notion of a fish taco. In 1983, I built it and they didn't come. It was like crickets chirping." Hours would go by without a single customer coming in. It took Rubio a solid year to build the business by word of mouth. One intrepid eater at a time. Looking back, Rubio wonders what might have transpired if he'd done market analysis. "ank goodness I wasn't smart enough to do the research," he says, smiling. "I wonder if I'd surveyed a thousand people and asked 'Hey, what do you think of a Baja fish taco?' I think 90 percent would have said 'thumbs down.' I guess I was a little naive." Naive like a fox. Once Rubio committed to the business, he worked harder than a salmon swimming upstream. >> Ralph Rubio had to learn to cook when Rubio's first opened 40 years ago. Now, grilling for family and friends is one of his favorite things to do Hot off the grill, a lunch of carne asada, veggies, and margaritas is served. A swim often follows @ranchandcoast RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE JUNE 2023 87

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