Longtime New Tampa fixture Ruby Tuesday abruptly closed its doors in late July, which was a surprise to many local residents.
The restaurant, which boasted “Simple Fresh American Dining” and had arguably the best (only?) salad bar around, was located on the corner of Highwoods Preserve Pkwy. and Bruce B. Downs Blvd., in front of the popular AMC Highwoods 20 movie theater.
While it didn’t lack for passing traffic, it apparently was lacking in paying customers, joining more than 100 Ruby Tuesdays across the country that have been shuttered over the last year.
According to RestaurantBusinessOnline.com, Ruby Tuesday has closed 400 locations in the past decade.
Based in Maryville, TN, the dining chain was purchased by NRD Capital last year, and named Ray Blanchette as CEO in January in an effort to turn the company around.
Visitors on July 22 were greeted by a printed sheet of paper taped to the inside of the front door, saying “This Location Has Closed,” and directing people to the Ruby Tuesday in Valrico.
The manager at the Valrico restaurant confirmed that the New Tampa location was closed for good, but declined to answer any other questions. Messages left at Ruby Tuesday’s corporate offices were not returned.
Ruby Tuesday joins a growing list of shuttered restaurants in New Tampa in the past two years.
This year alone, Tampa Palms Mexican restaurant Casa Ramos and Pebble Creek’s Las Palmas Spanish Café have closed their doors, joining others like Dairy Queen and Vuelo’s Mexican Grill on BBD, as well as Beef O’Brady’s on Cross Creek Blvd.
The Dairy Queen location has a new tenant that has yet to open, but is expected to
be a Jamaican restaurant, and the old Vuelo’s site (which was formerly a Romano’s Macaroni Grill) may have a new restaurant group interested in bringing something new to the area, but the others remain vacant.
And, speaking of places that have closed recently in New Tampa, the H.H. Gregg appliance and electronics store located in the Market Square plaza on Commerce Palms Dr. in Tampa Palms closed last year, and last month, the Staples store in the same plaza shut down.