We’ve got some celebrating to do this month, because January 25th is Rubio’s 38th birthday and National Fish Taco Day. It’s hard to believe it’s been 38 years since our founder Ralph Rubio opened the very first Rubio’s in Mission Bay, San Diego. That tiny walk-up stand started the fish taco phenomenon that has spread from coast to coast thanks to you – our loyal, fish taco-loving fans who helped spread the word over the years!
To celebrate and say thank you, we’re offering our Coastal Trio for $6 all day long on January 24th and 25th when you present this offer.
And since no birthday celebration would be complete without a walk down memory lane, here’s a little bit about how Rubio’s and our famous Original Fish Taco® came to be.
Who Invented the Fish Taco?
Fish tacos have a long history as a popular street food throughout Mexico’s Baja peninsula. Since most parts of Baja are just a short trip to the ocean, it’s no wonder that fish and tortillas found their way together there.
Still, there are some questions about their exact origin. Some people believe battered fish tacos were influenced by Japanese fishermen. They fished off the Baja coast in the 1950s and 60s and likely prepared fish tempura with their fresh catch.
Legend has it that the owner of a local taco shop in either the Pacific coastal beach town of Ensenada or the Gulf coast beach town of San Felipe wrapped those battered fresh fish fillets in a warm, toasted tortilla, and topped it with a spicy, creamy mayo sauce. And the rest is history.
How Rubio’s Got Its Start
It’s not quite clear who in Mexico can take credit for inventing the fish taco. However, one thing we can agree on is that Ralph Rubio is the fish taco founder here in the U.S. He’s credited with bringing this delicious taco north of the border.
Ralph’s love for fish tacos goes back to his college days. While on spring break from San Diego State University, he and his friends traveled to San Filipe in Baja. There they discovered a simple, tasty fish taco at a taco stand near the beach – and for Ralph, it was love at first bite.
He knew he had to bring the idea home, so in 1983, with the help of his family, Ralph opened the first Rubio’s near the beach in San Diego. It was a small, walk-up taco stand in Mission Bay, that sold our famous beer-battered Original Fish Taco®.
Since then, that one taco stand has grown to nearly 160 restaurants in 3 states, and we’ve sold more than 200 million fish tacos. Our menu has grown too. It now includes responsibly sourced grilled seafood options, like shrimp, Wild-Caught Mahi Mahi and Wild Alaska Salmon.
Although the idea of putting fish in a taco was once unusual outside of San Diego, today, you can find fish tacos on Mexican restaurant menus, and quite a few non-Mexican restaurant menus throughout the country. We’re proud and happy to have played a part in that, so we hope you’ll share a meal with us to celebrate another birthday and National Fish Taco Day with Rubio’s.