LAFAYETTE, Colo. — Ruby Ru’s Street Eatery in Lafayette is already attracting regular customers, just a few weeks after opening its doors.
Ruby Ru's Street Eatery opens in Lafayette
Ruby Ru's already has regulars despite opening during a tough year for restaurants.
Repeat business is great news for owner Chris Rubeck, who admits he's taking a risk opening a restaurant at a time when so many businesses have had to shut down due to COVID-19.
“It’s been amazing, we’re kind of blown away,” Rubeck said of the community response so far to his new venture.
Ruby Ru’s was already a successful food truck, serving up its signature bourbon chicken dish, when Rubeck learned the restaurant location in Lafayette was becoming available in early 2020.
“I went to high school right down the road and knew about this location and it just kind of meant a lot to me,” he said. “I started playing with the idea in my head and was like, ‘Okay, this is kind of cool. This could work.’”
Then COVID-19 hit, forcing the food truck to temporarily shut down. Rubeck says the business received federal paycheck protection funding to stay afloat, and shifted to serving with other food trucks in neighborhoods for cooped-up residents.
Despite the setbacks, Rubeck decided to move forward with opening the restaurant, which opened its doors in late February.
“I already decided I wanted to do this, so I was doing it no matter what,” he said.
Ruby Ru’s serves fast-casual, counter service meals with only a few tables indoors, mainly geared toward takeout business. That model helped Rubeck feel that the business is less vulnerable to the capacity restrictions that have been imposed throughout the pandemic.
He says about half of the restaurant’s orders so far have come in through their online ordering system, even though they've done little to promote it. He believes communities embracing the takeout model will help the restaurant industry rebuild from all of the damage left by the pandemic.
“It’s a huge part of our economy, our country, our way of life,” Rubeck said of the food industry. “One way or another, we’re going to get through it and we’ll survive.”
This story is the first in a series spotlighting locally-owned Colorado restaurants and their staff, as part of an ongoing Rocky Mountain PBS project sharing personal stories of the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities in Colorado.