Phil and Carol Baily, and their two sons, Christopher and Patrick have been Temecula residents since 1981, when they moved here from San Marino in the Los Angeles area. Phil, a principal in a Los Angeles-based compensation and benefits consulting company, left that firm in order to start his own practice specializing in the development of computer systems for employee benefit plans.
In 1982, they began growing wine grapes, and in 1986 started Baily Vineyard & Winery. Winery growth was approached conservatively, and in the five years beginning in 1986, the consulting business was slowly reduced as the winery income increased, so that by 1991 the winery was providing a modest living for the family.
In order to be profitable while staying small, the decision was made to emphasize retail sales out of the winery, and eliminate the much lower margin sales through distributors and brokers. Because of the Temecula Valley Wine Country's growing reputation for fine wines and its proximity to the major population centers of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties, the increasing number of visitors to the Valley has proven this to be a sound business decision.
Almost from the beginning, the winery had put on its popular "Dinner in the Wine Cellar" series, featuring six course candlelight dinners amongst the wine tanks and barrels with each course matched to a different Baily wine. Carol Baily prepared the dinners with Phil acting as the host. The dinners were always sold out and most attendees came from considerable distances, primarily Orange and San Diego counties. These dinners were the genesis of the Baily's getting further into the food service business.
Baily Vineyard & Winery continues to thrive to this day. In 1999, the winery expanded its tasting room operation to its current location on Rancho California Road. It is a beautiful state of the art visitor center with a rich and luxurious tasting room, gift shop and a wonderful restaurant named Carol's.
Around 1991, Chris his former boss, Robert Staples, were working together at the winery tasting room. One day the subject of Vinnie Cilurzo and his business plan to start a brewery came up in conversation. Chris always had a little competitive spirit with Vinnie whose parents also owned a winery and was a much better basketball player. Chris thought, surely, if Vinnie who was younger, could put together a business plan for a brewery Chris could put together a business plan for a restaurant. After all Chris and Vinnie were 20 years old now and not getting any younger! Chris and Robert put together a business plan for a fine dining restaurant that would be located in a shopping center on Rancho California Road. After a lot of research and soul searching the two got cold feet the plan was mothballed.
Several months later Phil was passing through the Temecula Town Center and saw the vacancy created by the failed Delmario's Italian Restaurant. Seeing that vacancy sparked an idea to start a restaurant, similar to Chris' idea and out came the mothballed business plan. By September of 1992, the 100% credit card financed Baily Wine Country Cafe opened. Phil, Carol, Chris and Patrick operated the restaurant together and learned a lot real fast. Phil handled most of the financial and bookkeeping tasks, Carol handled the decorating and worked with the chef on menu design, Chris handled training of the service staff and managing the dining room, and Patrick worked in the kitchen.
In 1999 Chris and his wife Kim took over full ownership of the restaurant when Phil and Carol embarked on the visitor center expansion on Rancho California Road. At that time the name of the restaurant was shortened to just Baily's.
The vision of Baily's has not changed since its beginning which is to serve a high quality, moderately priced gourmet menu in a casually elegant setting to locals and wine country visitors.
In 1999 Temecula experienced an influx of new restaurants with the opening of the regional mall, the growth of Pechanga Resort and Casino, and the expansion of the Temecula Parkway area. As a result many of the older established restaurants near the aging core of town suffered lower volumes of diners. Baily's strategy at this time was to close for lunch, enhance the dinner offerings with weekly menu changes and build the offsite catering services that started in 1998.
Chris and Kim began talking about relocation to stay competitive in the changing landscape. Two themes emerged that would shape a future move: become property owners instead of renters and find a freestanding location rather than a multi-tenant setting.
Several location were looked at, but it was the City of Temecula's vision for Old Town that appeared to have the best possibilities. Old Town Temecula had just completed the streetscape improvements that unified the look throughout the district. But the city’s goal was just beginning and it took a lot of imagination to hear the clanking of glasses and bands playing in still sleepy train stop town that had been forgotten for over half a century. After a lot of thought and debate, the decision was made to pursue Old Town as the permanent home for the restaurant operation. In July of 2002 a letter was sent to the City offering to purchase the property on the corner of Old Town Front Street and Second Street. Concurrent to structuring deal points with the city, work began with architect Walt Allen to design a two story restaurant. Plans were drawn, permits acquired and construction started in April of 2004.
To finance the large scale project, Chris and Kim sought investors from the customer base of the still operating Baily’s. These 25 investors shared the vision to help build Old Town Temecula into a vibrant dining and entertainment destination. Together the LLC planted a flag in Old Town and ushered in a new era in the now exciting and energetic destination.