Ige’s Restaurant and 19th Puka
Yelpers report this location has now closed.
Welcome to Ige’s Restaurant and 19th Puka...Family Taking Care of Family.
My dream of building a 19th Puka has finally come true but it took a lot of hard work by some of the very special people in my life to make it happen.
It began in the 1940’s when my mom Kazuko and her four sisters Elsie, Sumie, Mary & Helen owned a small restaurant in Waipahu selling saimin, fish soup & BBQ sticks. Then in the 50’s, Mom worked in a lunch wagon in Kalihi for Mrs. Haruko Gushi and in the 60’s worked for her cousin Masa Uejo at Masa’s Cafeteria in Mapunapuna. In 1969, my late dad Shinyu bought mom her very own kitchen in Kalihi called Yasu’s Food Shop. From there, she started Ige’s Lunch wagon which was located at Bobby’s Union in Aiea. With a reputation for generous portions of tasty dishes at a fair price, her popularity expanded into Ige’s Catering Service. After losing the lease for Yasu’s in the mid 70’s, dad built mom her own kitchen in the garage behind our home in Aiea. For over a decade, business kept growing to a point where all of us kids were helping out in the family business. Mom taught us all how to cook. But in 1989, we got an eviction notice. This was devastating news but looking back, that was the best thing that happened to our family because we all decided to build our own kitchens. From this humble beginning, Ige’s has grown into 3 separate kitchens all run by her own children.
All 3 boys in our family play golf from time to time and like a ritual we always stop by the 19th Puka of wherever we played that day. Win or lose, it’s always a good time! It’s usually air conditioned with TVs, just a comfortable place where we can hang out and enjoy the camaraderie. We reflect over the day, pay off our debts and enjoy the pitchers of beer and different pupus offered. I thought it would be great to build our own 19th Puka. A dream was born! After dreaming for years, Ige’s Restaurant & 19th Puka is now a reality!
My family and I would like to thank all of you for your patronage & loyalty throughout these years. We will continue to do whatever we can to uphold the legacy my parents started.
Thank you very much!
Hours Of Operation
5pm - Close
Sun & Mon: Closed for
3pm - 7pm*
*Except During Special Event
Open for Lunch
*Hours and Days Subject to Change Without Notice
Ige's Lunchwagon & Catering
Ige's Lunchwagon offers delicious take-out lunches and exceptional catering services across all of Aiea and the surrounding areas. Our fantastic food is unsurpassed, and we can cook a variety of meals to suit everyone's particular tastes.
The Drive for Show, Good Food
STORY BY KELLI SHIROMA
PHOTOS BY LAWRENCE TABUDLO
JUNE 19 - 25, 2011
Follow the signs that point to Ige’s Restaurant & 19th Puka for a casual Friday lunch any day, except Monday, when the eatery is closed. The spacious, relaxed dining room is perfect for a party of one — sit in peace and get your TV fix, you can even request a channel change — or a party of 100. For meetings or parties, call to reserve seats; there is even an option to have a buffet set up specifically for your group.
There is no table service during lunch, and, as owner Ron Ige says, the concept is like a lunch wagon with a dining room. “There’s no tips involved,” he confirms. “It’s run like a takeout window. The seating is all open seating.”
Order from the friendly staff at the counter, and while you relax in the carefree atmosphere (sports are often playing on big screen TVs), your food is carefully prepared with you in mind; it’s made to order, but comes out quickly. If you are in a big hurry, order from the Express Menu, which features tasty, ready-in-no-time items that rotate depending on the day. Items include Turkey a la King and Fresh Corned Beef Cabbage.
Ige visits the Honolulu fish auction and picks the fresh catch to feature on his menu, such as opah, and chef Reggie Ramos knows exactly what to do with it.
Currently, Ramos is seasoning the Opah ($11) with only salt and pepper, steaming it, then covering it in teriyaki oyster sauce and finishing it off with hot oil. The fish is placed on a bed of crunchy shredded cabbage, and topped with green onion and chopped cilantro. The shoyu-based sauce pairs well with the flaky white fish (so fresh there is no fishy taste whatsoever) and doesn’t overpower it, yet adds schools of flavor. The fresh herbs add a final hit of bright green taste. You get a choice of sides, but the brown rice and tossed salad combination ensures a delivery of whole-grain complex carbohydrates that will sustain you throughout your busy day and a portion of fresh greens.
Those interested in eating locally will rejoice in this bounty from our near seas that’s rich in protein and healthy fish oils.
Another protein-rich favorite is Teriyaki Flap Meat ($10), which is the most popular thing on the lunch menu, according to Ige.
“It’s soaked in our original family-recipe teriyaki sauce.”
The marinated flap meat is tender, but still has a hardy chew, and will have you humming “mmmm” when sinking your teeth into the sweet, gingery morsels of teriyaki. Pair it with white rice and potato mac salad for some extra scoops of plate-lunch comfort. The tangy, creaminess of the mac salad blends perfectly with the teriyaki. (But you knew that!)
If you’re craving a big refreshing, yet satisfying salad, aim for Barbeque Chicken Salad ($8.50). Ramos grills the chicken breast, then finishes it with his own western-style barbecue sauce that is tomato-based with a touch of sweetness rather than tang. The chicken is served in bite-size pieces over a bed of crisp romaine and iceberg lettuce, along with shredded carrots. The dressing option is up to you: choose from Caesar, Oriental or ranch. A light and fluffy fresh-baked roll accompanies the salad.
Add this restaurant to your weekly lunch rotation. Its location off the freeway is easy to access, parking is not a problem and it’s an easy in-and-out spot that offers high quality eats.
“It’s easy to get to, there’s open seating and it’s perfect for groups,” explains Ige. “It’s all up to you and what you prefer.”
~ Family Owned and Operated since 1968 ~