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Tami Ridley
Founder & Creator

You many say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. 
I hope some day you’ll join us and the
world will live as one.
John Lennon
How Friars Folly Was Born

Tami Ridley conceived the cultural concept of Friars Folly on September 13, 2001. The United States was quiet. Its citizens had been glued to the television for two days watching in disbelief as the terrorist planes flew into the Twin Towers. 

Some were starting to emerge into the eerie public seeking some community to understand what had just happened. Still too uncomfortable to talk about the tragedy, not knowing where to go, what to say or how to feel, but needing the contact of just somebody, anybody to bring back some of the ordinary or routine and then to make sense out of the foundation that had just crumbled underneath them.

Tami heard a radio broadcasted from a shop that certain songs were being banned from the air because they were too inciteful for the moment. Included in that list was John Lennon’s Imagine. His words beckoned out to her,” you many say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us and the world will live as one."

Tami has always been called a dreamer. This dream of hers in creating a little neighborhood 'wine-pub' that can make a difference in helping people be able to connect with each other and the community around them by experiencing the romance of Old California through wine, food and live music so far has been quite successful. Maybe you'll share her dream too and meet your neighbors at Friars Folly?


Who Is Tami Ridley?

When I write about Tami, it is hard to capture her ‘bigger than life’ personality.  Nothing seems beyond her capability or power.  Somehow, everything she touches turns to gold or seems brighter and easier.  Her glowing charisma makes everybody feel special.  The energy of her restaurant flourishes when she is present.  When she’s not, the absence is a notable void. 

Tami Ridley is one of the most well-connected women in the area.  Everybody seems to know her.  She’ll tell you she’s just a simple country girl, but don’t let her fool you.  True, she is a ‘farmer’s daughter’, born on an expansive wheat farm on the Dakota Canadian border, but “she’s come a long way, baby” from riding horses and driving tractors to operating one of the most popular North County San Diego restaurants

After living for several years on the beaches of Hawaii, she has made Southern California home for the past 25 years.  Happiest with her Giant Schnauzer, Schatzie, and just a few of her closest friends and family, her savored moments are those on her hill top ranch with wide open spaces where she wakes up to beautiful Mediterranean landscape views.   

Her passion for the past twenty years has been wine, food, music, gardening, local history and dogs. Before settling on her role as a restauranteer for the last five years, she had worked as a La Jolla stockbroker, a complex civil litigation attorney handling high profile trials, a professor teaching law, business, communication and ethics classes at University of San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Mira Mesa College and a few other community colleges.  In addition, Tami has contributed her time and energy to numerous community leadership projects. 

Mostly she has been recognized as an advocate for the disabled, being a quadriplegic herself.  In spite of being an excellent swimmer and daring sports enthusiast, Tami unfortunately misjudged the depth of the very shallow water that she dove into and smashed the 4th, 5th & 6th vertebrate of her spinal cord when her head the bottom of the lake.  That was twenty years ago when she was 24 years old.

Schatzie Tami and her pride and joy,
Schatzie (aka Xena de Xanadu),
overlooking what was once to be Tami's Vineyar
d . . . and who knows maybe someday soon will be laden with vines.

Underlying her feminine surface, Tami is strong, brave, bold and adventurous.  She is a free spirited and quick-witted soul with a kind, caring and big heart.   You’ll find her to be an accomplished, cultivated and intelligent young women and a pleasure to meet. Yet, she is so unassuming, softly spoken, and gentle and friendly that you will feel completely at ease with her in spite of the little 'powerhouse' that she really is. Tami truly earns the same description lauded to an elegant Pinot Noir Burgundian wine - "The Iron Fist in the Velvet Glove".

These qualities have enabled her to do one of the ‘biggest smoke and mirrors’ acts you’ll ever witness.  The aura that is around Tami is so transcending, you do not even notice that she is physically confined to a wheelchair.  She glides around so gracefully, you hardly see the wheels underneath her.  Her beauty captivates you and her perfectly proportioned ‘Barbie-Doll’ figure belies her claims that she never diets or exercises.  She is savvy, sassy, sexy and smart too.

How Did Friars Folly Evolve?
The 'accidental restaurant' experience resulted when Tami was intrigued by the zoning and permitting legal aspects of James Eubank's plans to secure a winery as a tenant in his famous Old California Restaurant Row in San Marcos. When she visited him at his 20-restaurant complex, she was taken by the location of the site right next to a Mission bell tower in a beautiful rustic courtyard - a slice of the Old California feel that she loves.

There's a reason most wineries are agriculturally zoned and she could not imagine the City of San Marcos approving a permit for one at Restaurant Row.

Jim Eubank just smiled and reminded Tami, as he was to do so many times in the future, "Nothing is impossible, it just takes longer." "You must have some friends that would want to open a winery here so I can anchor my center with the San Marcos Brewery to the south and a Winery to the north." Finally, Tami suggested opening up a fantasy winery. People could pretend there were vineyards in the back and equipment and tall stainless tanks full of fermenting wine. Inside, would be a tasting room that would have the feel of Wine Country. "Great idea, Tami", Jim said. "Why don't you do it?"


"I knew that I had found my home. Here was a place where I could share my passion for food and wine, my love for the history of Old California, and the enjoyment of bringing people together to relax and really enjoy the simplicity and beauty of life."  
Old California Restaurant Row
A restaurant was never a plan in Tami's dreams, but now that that one had landed upon her, she has found her place enjoying the business of hospitality. The opportunity to promote wine, local agriculture and history in her business seemed the perfect fit.
What Kind Of Experience Prepared Tami To Operate A Wine ~ Live Music ~ Restaurant Business?
She had never operated or really worked in a restaurant before except for a stint at a Polynesian Dinner Show while attending college at the University of Hawaii. Her idea was to create a 'fortified coffee shop' - a place where grown-ups could relax and have conversation with a glass of wine or beer and a savory snack instead of getting amped up with a caffeine-laden latte and sugared muffin.

Her first foray into the world of wine began while completing her Senior Project - Wine Collecting as an Investment - needed to graduate with a degree in Finance at San Diego State University. Unfortunately, her first professional job as a stockbroker in La Jolla's Shearson & Lehman's office didn't have a wine investment department.

When the 'Black Monday' stock market crashed, Tami was awarded a full scholarship to University of San Diego Law School and an opportunity to study 'International Comparative Law' at Oxford University in England.

Later after abandoning an intense few years of civil litigation, Tami happened upon a niche in wine law while searching for a small property for agriculture between Santa Barbara and Ojai – a small vineyard. Meeting growers and winemakers who exchanged information for legal advice, she eventually got caught up in the wine world.

Since then she has been active in many wine organizations and wine education. She has studied wine marketing at UC Davis; was a member of the Temecula Valley Wine Grape Grower Association; and on the board of directors of the San Diego chapter of the Wine Brats.



  • Intoduction to Enology, Wines of the World, California Wines, Horticulture Department with Dick Colangelo, Mira Costa College 2002-2004
  • Regulation of Wine Production and Marketing, Office International de la Vigne et du Vin, Department of Viticulture and Enology, U.C. Davis, July 1998
  • Wine Industry Operation and Production Strategies, Office International de la Vigne et du Vin, Department of Viticulture and Enology, U.C. Davis, July 1998
  • Small Farms Conference - Marketing and Regulation, UC Cooperative Extension, June 1998
  • Winery Compliance, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms, Temecula, May 1998
  • Grape Day Trade Show and Industry Seminars, Temecula Valley Wine Grape Growers' Association, March 1998
  • Viticulture & Wine Industry Trends, WineTech GrapeTech, Sacramento, February 1998
  • Establishing a Commercial Vineyard, Cooperative Extension, February 1998
  • Wine Education - Tasting, University of California, San Diego


  • Entrepreneurship, Women's Economic Ventures, Santa Barbara, 1996
  • LEAD San Diego, Inc., 7/95 Alumni of a select leadership development program
  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, 1992
  • Institute of International and Comparative Law, Oxford University, England, 1991
  • M.B.A., University of San Diego School of Business, 1992
  • Science & Business of Biotechnology Series, U.C.S.D. Extension Courses, 1993
  • B.S., Finance, San Diego State University
  • Chinese History & International Business, University of Hawaii, 1988


  • Best Small Business of the Year 2004, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce
  • Best of San Diego (Following Categories) (1) Wine Bar, (2) Romantic Restaurant, (3) Live Music Venue, (4) Best Neighborhood Bar Union Tribune SignOnSanDiego 2004 & 2005
  • White House Fellow Finalist, 1995 & 1996
  • Chosen out of over a thousand applicants for one of eleven fellow positions as assistant to a Cabinet Member to learn policy-making skills
  • Eagle Spirit Award for Personal Achievement, 1994 Sharp Healthcare Foundation, San Diego
  • Dean's Distinguished Student Award for Service, 1992 University of San Diego School of Law
  • Magister, Phi Delta Phi, 5/91 - 5/92
    • University of San Diego School of Law
    • Received national award for a program I implemented - "Law Students Mentoring Troubled Youth"


Y.E.P. Young Entrepreneurs Program (Mentoring Young People With Disabilities)
Agricultural Society of San Diego

Disabled Businesspersons Association
Alumni Office, University of San Diego School of Law, 1/97-
San Diego Volunteer Lawyer's Program, 3/95 - 3/96, Domestic Violence Restraining Order Clinic
La Jolla Arts Festival, 6/88 - present, Torrey Pines Kiwanis Club
Sharp Rehabilitation Development Council, 8/94 -Present Sharp Healthcare Foundation


  • Agricultural Society of San Diego
  • Animal Law Society
  • Wine Brats!  Board of Directors
  • California Bar Association
  • Temecula Valley Grape Growers Association
  • American Inns of Court, Louis M. Welsh 1m
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • Escondido Historical Society




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Imagine there is no heaven. It’s easy if you try.  No hell below us.  Above us only sky.  Imagine all the people living only for today
Imagine there is no country.  It isn’t hard to do.  Nothing to kill or die for and no religion too.  Imagine all the people living in life in peace
Living life in peace.
John Lennon

“ Wine is one of the uses for all the knowledge we didn’t think we would need in school such as chemistry, botany, weather, geography, geology, culture and more”.  .
Tami is one of the founding members of an organization that promotes San Diego’s biggest secret- a $4 billion agricultural industry providing over 240 crops on over 6,000 small farms.  Their project, San Diego Grown 365 brands and certifies the products that are from sunny San Diego where farming happens 365 days a year.
Tami with her mother, Edla Hoffert. "She is the wind beneath my wings. None of this would be possible without her love, belief in me and support."