Elio Todaro, the owner of Elio's Wine Warehouse and a partner in across-the-lot neighbor Felipe's Taqueria, died of cancer in his Harvey home Saturday, Jan. 12, at the age of 63. The Times-Pic's Susan Langenhennig writes a nice overview of Todaro's time in New Orleans, which began in 1962 when he and his family immigrated from Alia, Sicily to New Orleans. Todaro's family opened Vieux Carre Wine and Spirits on Chartres in 1987, which six years later in 1993 gave way to Elio opening his South Miro Street Uptown Wine Warehouse, which sold wine, spirits, and, thanks to its proximity to Loyola and Tulane, keg beer. In 2006, Todaro helped launch the Boston-based Felipe's chain in New Orleans by opening the burrito joint's first (but by no means only) iteration across from Elio's Wine Warehouse.
Todaro is survived by his wife of 23 years, Paula Sierra Todaro, as well as a fairly robust contingent of immediate and extended family members. According to Craig Fasino, the chief financial officer at Felipe's, Todaro was a passionate businessman who knew just the right wine pairing to go with a customer's recently purchased burrito: "He was passionate about his craft and he loved talking to customers. You would walk into his store and he would light up, and the next thing you know you're at Felipe's eating a burrito with a case of wine in your trunk." Which, if we're being honest, sounds like a damn fine outing indeed.