A Taste Of Tio’s New Mex Cuisine

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - October 10, 2007
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Ed Wary is set to open his new restaurant, Tio's Garage & Taco Station
Ed Wary is set to open his new restaurant, Tio’s Garage & Taco Station

One of Hawaii’s most creative restaurateurs has come up with a new concept. Ed Wary is drawing on his recent travels in the Southwest visiting famous kitchens and the inspiration of wife Tina’s family in opening Tio’s Garage & Taco Station at 404 Ward Ave.

The new establishment comes with a built-in history. According to Wary, “Abuela and Abuelo” (Grandma and Grandpa) emigrated from Mexico to the United States in 1938 with their two boys, who were still very young. Abuelo was a mechanic by trade, so they ended up running a small gas station and garage in New Mexico. Abuela and “Uncle Bert” loved to cook so much that they would share food and drink with customers who came to the garage. Their reputation spread for such good eats that soon people were coming in just for the food, and they had to convert part of the garage into a dining room. Before long, they were selling more food than gas. They took traditional Mexican dishes and adapted them to local fresh foods, including the use of fresh chilis. In fact, they were among the pioneers of “New Mex” cooking. Wary defines “New Mex” cuisine as emphasizing the use of chilies.

“Green chili makes the difference when compared to neighboring styles, such as TexMex and Cal-Mex, although heavier use of cilantro and relaxed use of cumin and tomatillos also are important,” he said.

Showcasing “New Mex cuisine,” Tio’s celebrates its opening with a party Saturday, Oct. 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. to benefit Hanahau’oli School in Makiki, where the Warys’ daughter Maddy is a second-grader; almost 20 percent of the students are awarded financial aid based on need. Admission to the event is $150 per person, with reservations available by calling 732-7733 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The public opening of Tio’s is Tuesday, Oct. 16 for dinner, adding lunch Thursday, Oct. 18.

Here’s an advance peek at Ed’s recipe for Green Chili Stew, which will be undoubtedly one of the most popular menu items at the new restaurant. It will serve six to eight at home.


* 1 pound pork shoulder, cubed
* 1 ounce olive oil
* 2 ounces fresh garlic, chopped
* 2 quarts chicken stock
* 2 pounds green chilies, chopped
* 2 medium potatoes, peeled, cubed
* 1/cup chopped onion
* 1(14.5-ounce) can diced


* 1 teaspoon garlic salt
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

Brown the pork and garlic in the oil in a large saucepan. Add stock and chilies; bring to a boil.

Add the potato and onion. Return to a boil. Add tomato and seasoning.

Simmer until potatoes are tender, but not mushy, and pork is tender.

Serve in a soup cup or bowl. Garnish with small ramekins of shredded cabbage, radish, pork rinds and lime wedges.


(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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