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The Ripe Tomato Restaurant to close

ripetomatoThe Ripe Tomato Restaurant is scheduled to close after 37 years. The fine dining restaurant in Fig Garden Village will stay open until Feb. 15.

The restaurant is the type of fancy, pricey place husbands took wives for a romantic dinner, or other special occasions. And that’s part of the problem, says chef and owner Rudy Liebl. On holidays the restaurant was packed. The rest of the year, not so much. He says fewer people are seeking out fine dining. Liebl says he’s also ready for a break.

“I’m going to be 75 years old, so it’s probably time,” he says. “But I don’t know how I’m going to handle retirement after 60 or 90 days. I might do something else.”

The restaurant, which Liebl opened, has spent all 37 years in the same spot in Fig Garden Village, tucked away near Jamba Juice. Manager┬áSam Cheah has been there for 26 years. I’m betting the next few weeks — and especially Valentine’s Day — are going to be packed with well wishers.

“I’m going to miss my customers, especially my loyal ones” Liebl says. “Sometimes I feel good about [closing] and sometimes I feel sad about it.”

A shopping center representative confirmed that Pieology Pizzeria, a growing California pizza chain, will open in the space this summer.

Responses to "The Ripe Tomato Restaurant to close"

Ernie says:

It seems like it was a good run.

On the up-side, I went to Pieology in Irvine a few months ago and loved it!

Lisa says:

When our daughter was 7, her dad took her to the Ripe Tomato for its Father/Daughter Dinner.

13 years later it’s a cherished memory for them both.

Richard says:

With the economy, me and my family don’t go out as much .
We would go to higher priced outlets for dinner but with the wife unemployed, the reduced hours im working we no longer go out much any more .If we do its for a hamburger or sandwhich now .But i still will miss Rudy but as times change so does most everything , the old becomes the new .

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