COO-CFO-proprietor Mark Echeverria, who made the announcement, said Rueda died of natural causes.
“Ruben always knew just what a customer needed, whether it was an ear to bend, or a joke to lighten the mood,” Echeverria said. “He brought professionalism and kindness to his work every day, and his loss will deeply affect many guests and colleagues who long counted him as a friend. Our family has run Musso’s for four generations, and to us, Ruben was, without question, a member of our family.”
Rueda applied for a job as a server assistant at age 19. Three years later, he became a bartender, a position he served in for 52 years.
Rueda said of his job, “Mostly I like to talk to people, and I make people happy. That’s my job. But I don’t work at Musso & Frank because I want to work in a bar — I work here because I like these people — because I know these people. I work in the greatest place on earth. This is home. I see my customers more than I see my wife. I’ve been working here almost all my life. I’m a happy guy. And this place is here to stay!”
The bartender served celebrity regulars including Keith Richards and other members of the Rolling Stones, Johnny Depp, Rock Hudson, Orson Welles, Raymond Burr, Charles Bukowski, Steve McQueen, John Lennon and Gore Vidal.
This year marks the famous restaurant’s 100th anniversary.
Echeverria said, “Ruben helped define what Musso & Frank is all about by making guests feel both in another world — and yet very much at home — at the same time. He was renowned for treating each and every patron like a star – one of the many reasons he became such an integral part of the incomparable Musso & Frank ‘experience.’ I’m heartened that Ruben lived long enough to help us celebrate our 100th anniversary milestone. We will do everything in our power to honor his memory all year long, and for countless years to come.”
Rueda, who lived in Whittier, is survived by his wife, Maria Olga Rueda; a son, Leonard, who also works at Musso & Frank Grill as both a server and a bookkeeper; and a daughter, Cynthia; and two grandchildren.