WITH A VIEW
oPPosite and aBove, clocKWise
from left: 1) Burger and a milkshake
at ruby’s diner. 2) nobu’s creamy,
spicy rock shrimp. 3) a martini at a
restaurant. 4) & 5) the Beachcomber
at crystal cove, and the restaurant’s
seared crusted tuna.
“We almost named it Balboa’s Diner,” says founder/CEO Doug Cavanaugh. “But Dad thought
of Mom (Ruby), and said, ‘Let’s call it Ruby’s.’ Mom became our great mascot for 33 years. Kids
asked for her autograph.”
Staying power is needed, as Newport Beach can’t rely on tourists, adds Cavanaugh. “We got
lucky. A TV restaurant critic named us ‘Best Burger in California’ the week after we opened.”
Though 90% of guests in summer are tourists, locals account for 90% in winter.
Quality has remained consistent over the years. “But we do change, like adding options such as
the Sriracha burger and gluten-free bread,” says Cavanaugh. The beef for the burgers is all-natural.
And, “When new guests or regulars ask, ‘Why are your shakes so good?’ I tell them we’ve always
had special milk delivered from a local dairy, and we use top-of-the-line Hershey’s products.”
A Restaurant rises from The Arches
New restaurants in Newport Beach often honor the town’s culinary heritage. When Otterbein
purchased The Arches restaurant property in 2009, he decided to maintain many elements of the
historic building. Originally built as a restaurant and gas station, The Arches launched in 1925, the
same year that Coast Highway opened from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach.
After gutting the structure, the rebuilt architecture reflects the Mediterranean style of the
original with arches and a red tile roof. The red leather booths, mahogany wood décor and name
harkening back to the prior spot helps previous fans feel at home at A Restaurant.
While honoring the 92-year culinary history of the site, executive chef Jonathan Blackford
views A Restaurant as “not your typical Newport Beach place—we do things in an eclectic way.
Though we are rooted in classic and haute cuisine, I have free rein on the menu.”
An example of Blackford’s out-of-the-box cooking is squash served three ways: butternut
squash sous-vide rectangles with molasses; roasted acorn squash; and butternut squash puree. The
vegetables are topped with brown sage butter and come with Burrata “balls” topped with pine nut
brittle. The combination, he says, reminds him of butternut squash ravioli without the pasta.