Delicias Restaurant will close on Nov. 15 after more than 19 years in the Rancho Santa Fe Village. Owner Owen Perry made the decision not to renew his lease.
“The reason for us leaving was very personal. With the lease being up, it was just something we couldn’t continue,” Perry said. “The restaurant truly has provided some enjoyable times and some memorable times, and we’ve always tried to do our best.”
Perry has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality business and he is a co-owner of the Villa Group Resorts, a chain of all-inclusive luxury resorts throughout Mexico. His company is about to open two new resorts this year on the Islands of Loreto on the Sea of Cortez, as well as a new golf course.
“It was a quality of life issue,” Perry said of juggling work and family. “The lease was up, and we couldn’t make a commitment for another 10 years.”
Perry acquired the restaurant in 2008 and initially intended to serve more in an investor role than in an operator role. But, as the recession hit, the team he had joined could no longer stay, so Perry stepped up his involvement. It was a challenge at first, running the restaurant while living outside of the country in Mexico.
After having a fourth child six years ago, the family moved to Rancho Santa Fe and became fully entrenched in the community. The restaurant was a frequent host for school and charity fundraising events, and Perry got to know a lot of his neighbors and customers.
“We’ve really enjoyed the experience, but the restaurant business is the type of business that takes a certain amount of effort to please the people that come in,” Perry said. “I’ve always taken that very seriously, and if I can’t give 110 percent I’d rather not do it.”
Over the years, Perry said, he saw the community change. As there are fewer stores and more real estate offices and banks, Delicias had to shift to stop offering lunch. Perry said that he, as much as anyone in Rancho Santa Fe, would like to see the village revitalized.
“I hope someone takes over the space,” he said. “I would love to see a new restaurant too.”