Ruby's Family Dining closes its doors in Aztec
Owner says early losses were too much to bear
- Ruby's Family Dining opened in 2014 and offered traditional country food.
- The Love the Children Learning Center will open a day-care operation at the site of the former restaurant.
- The owner said the property hasn't been able to support a restaurant' for 10 years.
AZTEC — Ruby’s Family Dining has closed its doors in Aztec, but its most successful menu items — breakfast selections — have moved to its sister restaurants, Rubia’s Fine Mexican Dining and Ruby’s in the Valley.
Ruby’s at 1901 W. Aztec Blvd. closed on Oct. 15 after nearly three years of business. Randy Hodge, who owns all three restaurants, said it was an emotional decision to close the family diner.
“I really felt strongly about it being an asset to the community, and it never was an asset enough for us to be able to continue to operate,” Hodge said.
Though Ruby’s is no more, part of the restaurant lives on in the menus at Hodge’s other restaurants — through breakfast.
“Our menu over there (at Ruby’s Family Dining) was more traditional-type country food (like) chicken-fried steaks. We had a little bit of Mexican food; we had a really fantastic breakfast,” Hodge said. “We had a pretty decent breakfast business, and we did move all that breakfast menu over (to Rubia’s and Ruby’s in the Valley).”
Ruby’s in the Valley started a breakfast and lunch menu on Oct. 18 at the Aztec Municipal Golf Course, and Rubia’s at 116 S. Main St. in Aztec also started a new schedule on Oct. 17 to offer breakfast, said the restaurants' Facebook pages.
The Ruby’s building has been home to a number of restaurants since it was built in 1999. It originally opened as Oliver’s Restaurant in 2000. Hodge bought the building in 2013 and rented to Hero’s New York Pizza for several months before opening Ruby’s Family Dining in October 2014.
“After trying to find several other tenants, I decided to go ahead and open a new style restaurant for the community, for Aztec, that would have a more family dining-type atmosphere or feeling to it,” Hodge said. “To be honest with you, it just never materialized the way we wanted it to. We started to show some profits this year, but the first two years, there was way too much in losses that I don’t even want to talk about.”
Ruby’s closing doesn’t mark the end of the building, however. Hodge said Love the Children Learning Center, a day-care business based in Bloomfield, is in the process of making the old Ruby’s its home.
The building will undergo minor remodeling before the child care center can open, most likely in late December or January.
“I decided the day that I opened, I said, ‘Hey, if I can’t make it work, I’m going to burn it to the ground,’” Hodge said. “I didn’t mean that, but I said, ‘if I can’t make it work, nobody can.’ That’s why we decided, when we had the opportunity to do something besides a restaurant, we thought it was the right move for us. ... We feel like it’s going to be a much better use of the property that hasn’t been able to support a restaurant in the last at least 10 years.”
Megan Petersen covers business and education for The Daily Times. Reach her at 505-564-4621 or email@example.com.