When Bali Hai first opened, it was called The Hut (1953-1954), and was a subsidiary of Christian's Hut in Newport Beach. The business didn't do well initially, until the manager Tom Ham took it over and renamed it Bali Hai. Atop the building, you can still see "the Goof," a funny-looking guy who was the mascot for Christian's Hut. Bali Hai developed their own mascot, Mr. Bali Hai, whose droopy-lidded face can be seen at the front door, and on the tiki mugs. Today, Bali Hai remains a popular Polynesian restaurant, with many fine examples of Polynesian art both indoors and out.
Bali Hai is located on Shelter Island in San Diego, along with Humphrey's Half Moon Inn and Trader Mort's Liquor.