Christina Applegate's Rubi Rosa

Did you know Christina Applegate used to own a restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd where Fiesta Cantina now stands called Rubi Rosa?

Once upon a time in Hollywood, Christina Applegate, star of Married With Children did indeed own a Restaraunt in the space that is currently occupied by Fiesta Cantina in West Hollywood, and here is the story of how it came to be.

David Cooley (Owner, The Abbey) first owned the restaurant at 8865 Santa Monica Blvd called PREY, back when the Abbey was just a coffee bar.  

Prey was a higher-end, sit down restaurant that had the most AMAZING opening party EVER with caged tigers and other wild animals.

Prey didn't last long and my friends and I convinced our pal Christina Applegate that she should buy the liquor license and turn the space into a restaurant to hang out in with us and all her celebrity friends. Paparazzi free.

Christina's pal Johnny Depp had recently bought the Viper Room on Sunset and celebrity bars/clubs were pretty sparse back then. I even snuck Christina into the DJ booth at Revolver, a video bar a few doors down, so she could watch all the patrons swooning over her videos to convince her that she already had a built-in clientele on Santa Monica Blvd.

So with the money that she made in royalties from Married With Children, and partners Art and Allan Davis (owners of practically every LA club at the time) Jeffery Sanker who was fresh off the hot restaurant Chit Chat known for having phones on all the tables where patrons could call and chat to other people at their table says, I set up a dinner at the old Sunset Social Club that was now called, Union (famous for a secret room behind a bookcase) and I introduced everyone to Prey's building owner Monte Overstreet. Rubi Rosa was born.

The food was semi-traditional Southwestern cuisine and since Christina is a vegetarian, many of the entries were meat-free. The restaurant also featured 31 different margaritas priced $3.75 to $6. We used the El Coyote margaritas as our inspiration even though we did not know the recipe, and sat for weeks and weeks with Christina’s mother Nancy, tasting the drinks until they were perfect. The bar manager, Dan Mrglot along with Nancy came up with the margarita recipes. 

Merle Ginsberg’s (from RuPaul’s Drag Race, pictured here) sister was the chef.  Bruce Liebert, who designed the interior, decorated it as an 18th-Century crumbling bordello goes ‘50s Hollywood glam, leopard carpeting leftover from Prey, transcended the stairs. There were these cushy, diamond-tufted banquettes and 200-year-old Mesquite doors ripped from a cathedral deep in the heart of Oaxaca, rent and torn asunder. It was the place to be, especially the roof which was much more open than it is today with views of downtown because the building next door was not yet built. There was no sidewalk seating on Santa Monica back then.

Photo Credit: Dan Mryglot
This photo was taken and owned by bar manager Dan Mrglot

Charles Kinsley, widely known for his lengthy bartending gig at Mother Lode, who sadly died in 2019 got his start here. Jeff Olde reminded me recently that he too was a waiter here. He went on to become the EVP, Development & Programming at E! Entertainment bringing us some of our most memorable reality shows.

I believe Zsa Zsa Gabor came up with the name when she told us a great story about Porfirio Rubirosa, an international playboy, who was one of her greatest lovers one night at a legendary dinner at her house in Bel Air and we thought it would make a fun name for a restaurant. Christina loved it.

Later, when I told my pal Eartha Kitt about naming the restaurant after Rubirosa, having been a great lover of hers as well, she laughed and said that she didn’t believe that her and Zsa Zsa ever had an “affair” and their relationship was all an act. MEOW.

On May 11, 1994, the OPENING PARTY and the hottest invite in town.  Every major celeb of the day was there, but what I most remember was hanging out with Traci Lords and her boyfriend John Enos, and Christina's boyfriend at the time Tony Ward, drinking too much and hanging out on the leopard stairs.

The fun lasted about two years and it did become a celebrity hang out just as Christina wanted. She would even hold court while bartending, making us all laugh. Eventually, the magic died down, and this part-time hobby of hers became a business. The fun ended, and the partners split up. In 1996, the name was changed to Villa Villekulla but it never found a following.  A major discussion was that people couldn’t find parking in the area, and “straights” didn’t want to come to “Boystown” to go to eat (how the times have changed) and the boys only wanted to drink.

Christina sold the space and it became a great Italian restaurant/piano bar for a bit, then a popular bar called Dudes (think a tiki-themed Fiesta) before it became Fiesta which it has been ever since.

So even though the place looks very different (Rubi Rosa's bar was in the very back and on the left side) I still walk in and see the big booths and dark wood that used to live there. If only reality TV had been what it is today back then… for sure it would have been a TV show.  Rubi Rosa, thanks for the great times and thanks Christina for the many memories... we ❤️ you.
Christina Applegate's Rubi Rosa Christina Applegate's Rubi Rosa Reviewed by #IheartHollywood on May 11, 2020 Rating: 5


  1. I remember watching MwC one Sunday evening in 1994 and KTTV doing a piece about the restaurant for their 11:00 PM news broadcast. Christina was shown tending bar and chatting with Ted McGinley, who had dropped by. Everyone seemed to be having fun. Too bad it didn't last.

    Porfirio Rubirosa lived fast and died hard, crashing his Ferrari into a horse chestnut tree in 1965 after a wild night of partying in Paris. There was a joke about a vegetable having been named after him to honor a certain part of his anatomy, the one which made him so popular with women. If this is the story that Zsa Zsa Gabor told her guests, I can see why it amused Christina enough to name the restaurant after Rubirosa.

  2. Quoi qu'il en soit, ne prenez jamais la vie trop au sérieux - vous n'en sortirez pas vivant de toute façon. Les films aident tout ce qui est disponible...

  3. Très vrai en effet, mon ami.

    By the way, I was mistaken. It was a particular size of Parisian pepper mills that were named after Porfirio's reproductive organ. They appear to be common in posh restaurants such as Maxim's. It was there that the name "Rubirosa" was first coined and folks who dine at such places all over the world still refer to them as such.

    Myself, I have never been to a dining establishment that actually utilizes pepper mills. Just ordinary glass salt and pepper shakers like the ones you'd find at a Stuart Anderson's Black Angus steakhouse or a 1980s Pizza Hut. Does anyone else remember their fancy red plastic drinking glasses?

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