History of National Nacho Day
Any discussion about the history of nachos has to begin in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras — just west of the Rio Grande — across which sits Eagle Pass, Texas. One day in 1943 the wives of U.S. soldiers stationed at Ft. Duncan dropped in on a Piedras Negras hotspot called the Victory Club.
Unfortunately the restaurant had closed for the day.
Still, a manager named Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya decided to throw a dish together based on whatever ingredients he still had left. Among them? Cheese and tortillas. Anaya sliced the fried tortillas into triangles, added some shredded cheddar and jalapeño peppers — and started a new tradition which bears his name to this day. (Thanks Nacho! Where would out Super Bowl parties be without you?)
Speaking of which, an alternative take on nachos — using the now familiar cheese sauce — appeared at a Texas Rangers baseball game at Arlington Stadium in 1976. Two years later the iconic ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell mentioned the term “nachos” during a Monday Night Football game — helping to turn this rather simple dish into an American tradition.
Note: Piedras Negras continues to celebrate “The International Nacho Festival” each October — complete with live music, art, cultural activities, and a “giant nacho” contest.
National Nacho Day timeline
The St. Anne's Cookbook published Anaya's original recipe for nachos.
An L.A. waitress named Carmen Rocha, brings the dish to Southern California’s El Cholo restaurant.
Famed sportscaster Howard Cosell, turns an entire nation onto a new snack during a game between the then-Baltimore Colts and Dallas Cowboys.
The Houston Astros tribute “Walkoff Nachos” on the menu at Minute Maid Park to second baseman Jose Altuve's iconic “walk-off” home run.
National Nacho Day FAQs
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National Nacho Day Activities
Have a nacho competition
They have chili cookoffs, barbecue competitions, and even bake-offs, so why not an annual nacho competition? Well, you’ll be happy to know that at the Port Jefferson Station in New York, they actually do hold an annual Nacho Fest, but you don’t have to go there to experience it! What with the many ways you can serve up this crunchy culinary masterpiece, invite some of your most talented tortilla artists over to bring their best recipe to the table.
Hit your local cineplex
At this point, nachos have become just as much a movie theater staple as popcorn. This National Nachos Day, try taking in a blockbuster while skipping on the popcorn. Instead, when you hit the concession stand, make a hot, melty plate of nachos the star of the show. Don’t forget the extra cheese!
Perfect the chip-to-cheese ratio
One flaw many people note about nachos is that you can only cover so many tortilla chips with cheese. Eventually, you’re left with the bottom chips, which might as well have been left in the bag where you found them. This doesn’t have to be the case! Next time, place those chips on a cookie sheet and space them apart. Cover each chip with cheese and bake. Plate the chips and top with your favorite extras. You’ll guarantee those bottom chips get all the cheesy love they deserve.
Why We Love National Nacho Day
They’re perfect for any party
Is there any celebration nachos aren’t welcome? Seriously, Super Bowl, Fourth of July, birthdays — if you’re bringing nachos, you might as well throw on a cape while you’re at it because you just became the hero of the party! Don’t be that person who shows up with a five-dollar bag of plain potato chips; whip out that salsa and make a statement!
They can be topped with just about anything
It doesn’t have to be all about the guacamole and hot sauce. You can make nachos that fit any style of cuisine. How about giving your nachos a Mediterranean flare by subbing out those tortillas and beans for pita chips and hummus? Fan of Italian food? Try crisping up some pizza dough and topping it with marinara and mozzarella! The possibilities are endless.
They can be a snack or a meal
It’s hard to really classify what nachos actually are. The chips would lead you to believe they’re a snack, but what with all those toppings, how can it not be a meal? That’s the great thing about nachos, they can be either. Perfect for either lunch or dinner, nachos are also only one fried egg away from being a breakfast staple as well!
National Nacho Day dates