HRA: Third Annual Hall of Fame
Meet this year’s inductees into the Hawaii Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame.
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As a nonprofit trade association, the Hawaii Restaurant Association (HRA) represents our state’s restaurants, food-service businesses, and the hospitality and tourism industries. These industries are cornerstones of Hawaii’s economy, with more than 3,500 locations employing 82,000 people.
In 2007, the HRA celebrated its 60-year anniversary. To mark the occasion, the group began its Hall of Fame.
Each year since, new inductees have been selected, chosen for their contributions to the image and quality of the restaurant and food- service industry in Hawaii; service to the industry through civic, philanthropic or educational outreach; dedication and commitment to the growth of the industry.
This year, the Hawaii Restaurant Association’s Third Annual Hall of Fame honors a diverse mix of chefs, restaurant owners, food writers and farm-to-table pioneers. Each has helped build the foundation of the food industry in the Islands. Join us in savoring their accomplishments.
When Ed Wary moved to Hawaii to go to college, there were only two Italian restaurants in Honolulu. Both of them featured white tablecloths and tuxedoed waiters.
“Instantly my entrepreneur light bulb went on,” says Wary. “What this town needed was a good little spaghetti joint with cheap prices and a friendly environment.”
Twenty-six years later, Auntie Pasto’s remains true to the restaurant Wary had envisioned. The pastas are among the least expensive in town, and the atmosphere is still fresh and unpretentious. There are no hostesses, or five different wine glasses: You sit where there’s an open table and order off the Plexiglas menu on the wall.
In the midst of all of the creativity and hard work, Wary was also appointed as Hawaii’s director to the National Restaurant Association, and was the first restaurateur ever to be inducted into the University of Hawaii Alumni Hall of Fame.
As for the future, Wary hopes to continue to exceed his customers’ expectations and have his restaurant remain a place of value and fun.
“We’re going to try to remain fresh. We’ll do some unique things while still keeping our main personality in style,” says Wary. “We are a place to eat, not a place to dine.”
Food writer for Trade Publishing and Hawaii Hospitality magazine
You might be surprised to find that Barbara Holm’s 33-year-old column “What’s Cookin’” is not a cooking column at all, but a hospitality column written especially for chefs, restaurant managers and owners. Holm’s column was the first of its kind, and for a long time it was the only trusted source for those looking to announce their restaurant’s news.
“When food distributors were in the process of buying another company or buying each other out, it was usually my column that would announce it,” says Holm. “They felt more comfortable because my readership is the food industry.”
Holm has now become the go-to person if you need to get in touch with someone who has retired from the food service scene.
“People will call and say ‘whatever happened to …’ and I have this huge network of people that I can always call and ask. I always manage to track them down,” says Holm.
Although her column has changed the way the restaurant industry communicates, Holm herself is surprised that she would get such recognition for it.
“It’s really something to get an award for eating, drinking, partying and writing about it,” laughs Holm. “I’ve had so much fun doing it!”