Nachos have become so “American” that it’s hard to remember the dish is a relatively recent “immigrant” from Mexico.
Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, who worked at a restaurant in a small Mexican town just across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, invented the dish in 1943, when about a dozen wives of American servicemen walked into his restaurant after closing time. Rather than turn them away, Anaya found some tortillas, which he cut into small triangles and toasted with cheese and sliced jalapeño peppers. He dubbed them “Nachos Especiales” or “Special Nachos.”
The snack soon spread to Texas, and from there to American theaters, sports venues and schools. Today nachos are available everywhere across the United States with a variety of toppings; re-fried beans, salsa, sour cream and tomatoes are just a few.