History of Baily Winery
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.
History of Baily Wine Country Cafe
A few years later he and an ex-co employee, actually his ex-manager, were working together at Baily Winery's 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 who was a son of a winery owner as well. 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! That was the day that Baily Wine Country Café was born.
Chris and his ex-manager, Robert Staples, put together a business plan for a fine dining restaurant to be located in the Albertson's shopping center on Rancho California Road, where Peony's Chinese restaurant now operates. Chris and Robert got cold feet after the plan really started coming to life and ultimately the plan was mothballed.
Several months later, Phil Baily, 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. This was the day that Baily Wine Country Café found a home! Less than a year later the restaurant 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.
The Forming of Old Town Dining, LLC
Several location were looked at, but it was the City of Temecula's vision for Old Town that appeared to have the best possibilities. After a lot of thought and debate, the decision was made to pursue Old Town as the permanent home for the restaurant operation. And 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.
Originally the intention was to build a two story fine dining restaurant that would have an upstairs bar. But Chris realized that the majority of people walking around Old Town would not be in the mood for fine dining, and that was the day that Front Street Bar & Grill was born. Baily's would be shifted to the top floor and a new casual concept with a full bar would be on the bottom floor close to the strolling patrons of Old Town.
To finance the venture Chris and Kim formed a limited liability company (LLC) to sell 50% of the venture to local investors. The goal was to get as many investors as possible and have them help promote the business throughout the Temecula Valley.
In 1999 Temecula experienced an insurgence of new restaurants with the opening of the regional mall and the expansion of the Redhawk area. As a result many of the older established restaurants suffered lower volumes of diners. Baily's strategy at this time was to close for lunch, enhance the dinner menu with weekly changes and emphasize the higher profit catering services that started in 1998. Also at this time talk began about finding a better location for the business. A new location would achieve two goals. The first would be a more visible free standing location and the second was to stop paying rent and pay on a mortgage.
In 1988 Chris Baily, in need of some youthful freedom, found a summer job as a busboy at Café Champagne, a local fine dining restaurant at Thornton Winery. It was here that Chris found a passion for the restaurant business. Immediately, the tip income, the beautiful surroundings, fun coworkers, and great food fit well with Chris' personality and previous employment history (working for Phil and Carol in the winery pouring wine at the tasting bar and serving food at the winery dinners).