by Steven Doyle
Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas. In 1943, the wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip and arrived at the restaurant after it had already closed for the day. The maître d’hôtel, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, fried them, added shredded cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, added sliced pickled jalapeño peppers, and served them.
When asked what the dish was called, he answered, “Nacho’s especiales“.
Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe. He also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras.
There are now many versions of the dish, including the soupy cheese version found at ballparks, which by the way were first found at Arlington Stadium in 1976 and later lauded by Howard Cosell.
Today we hunt for some of the best to be found in the Dallas area.
Mi Cocina’s Nachos al Carbon
The Barnhart Nachos at Ozona Cafe
Nachos at Manny’s
A uniquely seafood version at Pier 247 in Oak Cliff
Nachos Panchos at la Duni
Pulled Pork Nachos at Twin Peaks
Vegan Nachos at Spiral Diner
Herrera’s Crazy Nachos (recipe here)
Massive nachos from Yucatan Taco Stand