Rubio’s Restaurants has announced that it has entered into an agreement with Ruby Tuesday to acquire eight restaurant locations in Florida currently operated as Lime Fresh Mexican Grills. Following closing of the transaction, Rubio’s will convert these to new Rubio’s Coastal Grill restaurants, marking the California-based company’s first expansion to the East Coast.

Ranked as the No. 1 Mexican food chain in the U.S. by Consumer Reports, Rubio’s Coastal Grill is known for pioneering the fish taco and for its unique and craveable coastal cuisine. Located in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, and Orlando, the new restaurants are scheduled to open in spring 2016. Rubio’s has agreed to acquire the select Florida Lime Fresh Mexican Grill restaurant locations from its parent company, Ruby Tuesday Inc. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including obtaining certain consents and permits, and is expected to close in the first half of 2016. With the addition of the Florida market, Rubio’s Coastal Grill will own and operate more than 200 restaurants from coast to coast.

Cofounder Ralph Rubio brought his love of fish tacos to the United States after a college trip to Baja California, Mexico. Since its first restaurant opened in San Diego in 1983, Rubio’s Coastal Grill has established a passionate fan base throughout the Southwestern United States and has been credited for starting the fish taco phenomenon in America. Recently cited by The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times as the country’s top fish taco expert, Rubio’s has sold more than 200 million Original Fish Tacos.

“Since opening our first restaurant more than 30 years ago, our quality reputation has steadily spread across the nation,” Rubio says. “Florida is a priority market for expansion because of a shared passion for quality seafood and culinary innovation. We’re eager to be a part of the community and bring a taste of Southern California to the East Coast.”

Rubio’s uses sustainable seafood in nearly all of its seafood dishes and has expanded its menu with inventive recipes, ranging from Grilled Gourmet Shrimp Tacos and California Bowls to Blackened Tilapia, Pacific Mahi Mahi, and more. Other items—including burritos, bowls and fresh salads—feature Rubio’s grilled marinated chicken and steak, “no fried” pinto beans, handmade guacamole, and a variety of signature salsas. 

Marc Simon, president and CEO of Rubio’s Restaurants says, “Our menu is top notch, but the excellent service of our team takes a dining experience from great to outstanding. We’re excited to welcome Florida-based team members to the Rubio’s family, and together expand our culinary vision throughout the state.”

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