Down south, Rubio's eateries are everywhere, and have fed generations of hungry college kids, with locations near major universities.
Founder Ralph Rubio was a college kid himself when he first discovered fish tacos while on spring break near the Baja village of San Felipe. According to his Web site, Mr. Rubio became pals with Carlos, the man behind the counter at the taco shop, who showed him how fish tacos were made.
Several years later, with his father, Ray, as his partner, he opened his first restaurant, a walk-up stand in Mission Bay. Since that time, Rubio's has sold more than 50 million fish tacos, according to the Web site.
Today there are Rubio's eateries in more than 180 locations in the West, with corporate headquarters in Carlsbad, California. The menu has also expanded. In addition to fish tacos, Rubio's serves carnitas street tacos, steak street tacos, grilled shrimp burritos, mahi mahi tacos and burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and other items; it also offers a variety of sides and salads.
Beer and soft drinks are available, as are churros or brownies for dessert.
Rubio's also specializes in take-out, including box lunches, a Beach Mex buffet, and dinner-to-go.
The Menlo Park store is bright and colorful with a beach theme reflected in the palm leaf palapa (thatched roof) adorning one wall.
There is seating for 58. The store has 26 employees, according to assistant manager Kerby Johnson. Joshua Colby is store manager.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 326-6691.