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Rubia's long-term future at stake; Randy Hodge hopes San Juan County reaches "yellow" soon

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times
Rubia's had to temporarily close on Dec. 23, 2020, due to the impact of dining restrictions, but carryout services are picking back up. The Aztec restaurant will also open a new patio on Feb. 10.

FARMINGTON — After months of trying to survive the state’s dining restrictions, Rubia’s co-owner Randy Hodge hopes San Juan County reaches the “yellow” restriction phase soon — as his restaurant’s long-term future hangs in the balance.

The Aztec restaurant, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last summer, had to temporarily close on Dec. 23 due to the impact of the dining restrictions.

Hodge said Rubia’s had a successful October, but struggled in November due to the restrictions. By Thanksgiving, Hodge said it reached a point where carryout services also decreased and had to shut down.

Once the December cold entered the picture, Rubia’s couldn’t proceed with outdoor dining.

“When it’s 17 degrees outside, it’s hard to have a comfortable place to dine outside,” Hodge said.

Randy Hodge stands in front of the Rubia's Market on April 1, 2020, in Aztec.

However, Hodge said carryout services are starting to pick back up again. Hodge said Rubia’s just started a Super Bowl Sunday carryout menu special. Rubia's started taking pre-orders on Tuesday, Hodge said.

Hodge also said Rubia’s will open a new outdoor patio, located just south of the building, on Feb. 10.

Hodge said he expects an “outpouring of support” from the community with the addition of the new patio.

“We’re trying to comply with all the current regulations,” Hodge said.

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A sign in front of Rubia's directs people inside for groceries, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Aztec. Rubia's had to temporarily close on Dec. 23, 2020, due to the impact of dining restrictions under the state's public health order.

San Juan County remains in the “red” reopening phase, which prohibits indoor dining and only allows outdoor dining at 25% capacity.

Reaching “yellow” would allow 25% indoor dining 75% outdoor dining. Reaching “green” would allow 50% indoor dining and 75% outdoor dining.

Hodge said he hopes that once San Juan County reaches the “yellow” reopening phase, it does not revert back to the “red” phase.

Although allowing 25% indoor dining capacity would give him some time to reevaluate whether Rubia’s may have “realign itself with another concept” to do business, Hodge said being allowed 50% indoor dining will be necessary for his restaurant’s long-term stability.

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Matt Hollinshead covers sports and business for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, mhollinshead@daily-times.com and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

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