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Newport Rib Co. plans ’30 Days of Charity’

Newport¿Mesa team captain John “Nuke” Cornuke, for whom Team Nuclear is named, pulls a big pot during Movember poker fundraiser at the Newport Rib Co. last year.
(Don Leach / Daily Pilot)

The Newport Rib Co. will launch its “30 Days of Charity” Program Friday, a representative said.

A portion of restaurant receipts through Nov. 30 will benefit 30 Orange County nonprofits, many of them chosen with the help of customers and staff members.

“The program was created to give back to the community that has supported the Rib Co. for the past 30 years,” Laura Ursini Marroquin, community relations manager for the Costa Mesa restaurant, wrote in an email. “As a family-owned-and -operated restaurant, we know that this is a major milestone in our business, and we want to celebrate by donating 20% of all dine-in and take-out to 30 amazing Orange County charities.”

Among the charities with customer or staff connections to the Rib Co. are:


•Movember, Team Nuclear (, which raises money to benefit prostate and testicular cancer research and treatment. Team Nuclear was founded by Estancia High School graduate John Cornuke and has raised more than $324,000 in three years.

•Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (, an organization that funds research into Type 1 diabetes. A longtime restaurant customer, Karen Hill, serves on the organization’s board and is also living with Type 1 diabetes. She eats at the restaurant about once a week, Ursini Marroquin explained, because the staff accommodates her special dietary requests.

•Share our Selves (, which provides services to families in dire need. John Ursini, one of the owners of the Rib Co., has taken guardianship of a 14-year-old boy whose parents are homeless and has received assistance from SOS.

.•McKenna Claire Foundation ( funds research into and raises awareness about pediatric brain cancer. The foundation was founded in 2011 after David and Kristine Wetzel’s daughter, Macky, died of brain cancer. The Ursini family has been close to the Wetzel family for many years, “first as students of Bill Wetzel at Estancia High School and as friends of David,” according to a news release.


•Cystic Fibrosis Foundation-OC ( works to fund medical research for a cure to cystic fibrosis. Kevin Ostermann, a manager at both Newport Rib Co. and Naples Rib Co., has a 10-year-old cousin with the disease. Since the boy’s diagnosis, his family has raised $220,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, according to the Rib Co.

The Rib Co. plans to present beneficiaries checks for their charities from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 4.

For the rest of the charities, visit