In 1943, the very first plate of nachos was served in a northern Mexican town to a group of women visiting from a U.S. military base just over the border in Texas.
They stopped at a restaurant that had already closed for the day, and, as the story goes, a Señor Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya served them a snack with what he had left in the kitchen: fried tortilla triangles with melted cheese and pickled jalapeño slices.
Since that day, many nacho dishes have evolved into elaborate creations with a plethora of toppings. We decided to check out some of SLO County’s most unusual nachos and share our results.
Now go out and get your own … because these are nachos.
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Breakfast nachos | Louisa’s Place
964 Higuera St., San Luis Obispo | $10.50
What’s on it: Fresh tortilla chips covered with scrambled eggs, diced ham, bacon, jack and cheddar cheeses with sour cream and salsa on the side
Need to get rid of a hangover? This gigantic pile of greasy breakfast foods might be just the cure. There’s enough breakfast on this plate for a couple of people to share, unless you’re a member of the big eater’s club.
Tot-chos | Lincoln Market & Deli
496 Broad St., San Luis Obispo | $3.50
What’s on it: Pinto beans, jack cheese, jalapeño, crema and salsa on a bed of tater tots.
This little twist on nachos uses delicious tater tots instead of tortilla chips for the base. It’s a small serving, but a reasonably priced snack. They were a little heavy on salsa and sour cream.
Braised short rib nachos | Pappy McGregor’s
1122 Pine St., Paso Robles | SLO location closed for construction | $13
What’s on it: Prime rib chili, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños, fresh guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream
The prime rib in these nachos was incredibly tender. Sadly, SLO residents will have to make the trek over the Cuesta Grade for at least the next year to try these bad boys, as the SLO location is closed for construction.
Super nachos | Taqueria Santa Cruz Express
What’s on it: Meat, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and jalapeños, with your choice of meat: pastor (barbecue pork), asada (grilled steak), carnitas (fried pork), pollo (chicken), polla asada (grilled chicken), birria (barbecue goat), lengua (beef tongue), cabeza (beef head), chorizo (sausage), tripas (beef tripe) or chile verde (pork in green sauce), buche (beef stomach), pescado (fish) or camarón (shrimp).
These super nachos are fairly typical of the colossal nachos found at many Mexican restaurants on the Central Coast. However, this taqueria offers meats not typically found this side of the border: goat, beef tongue, tripe and beef head. Time for a culinary adventure!
BYO nachos | Luna Red
What’s on it: Salsa criolla, cumin black beans, queso fresco, cabbage slaw and choice of two additions: raw red onion, avocado, piquillo peppers, hot pepper, dried chili tomato sauce, Spanish olives, kale, braised pork shoulder, pork belly, lamb sausage, short rib, chorizo, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, herbed goat cheese, manchego, mozzarella curds
What makes these nachos awesome is the mind-boggling number of available add-ons. You get two free toppings — we chose chorizo and goat cheese — but you can add more for $1 each, which means your only limit is the one on your credit card. Currently, the nachos are part of Luna Red’s Tequila & Tacos Tuesday menu.
Nacho Average Nachos | Eureka!
1141 Chorro St., San Luis Obispo | $10.50
What’s on it: Hand-pulled smoked chicken, black beans, guacamole, tomato, cilantro, Monterey jack, sliced jalapeños, chipotle sauce, sour cream
Nachos at a burger joint? Why not? The chicken is tender, and the chipotle sauce is nice and spicy. These are a great appetizer to share or a perfect entree for one.
Not Nachos | Villa Creek
What’s on it: Duck confit, mole negro, cotija, raw corn relish
Just to clarify: Despite what the name might lead you to believe, these are, in fact, nachos. But they’re definitely not the sort of nachos you typically find at other restaurants — the duck confit and sweet mole-coated chips set them apart.
Chilaquiles | Kitchenette
What’s on it: Soy chorizo, feta, black beans, avocado, fried egg
Chilaquiles, in case you’re not familiar, are basically breakfast nachos. Kitchenette’s version is fresh and flavorful, with crispy corn tortilla chips, house-made soy chorizo and a crunchy slaw on the side. Bonus: Besides being tasty, it’s also vegan (if you leave off the egg) and gluten free.
Nacho Sundae | Old Juan’s Cantina
649 Pier Ave., Oceano | $4.99
What’s on it: Cinnamon sugar-coated flour tortilla chips, chocolate, caramel, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, almonds and a cherry
What better way to top off a meal of nachos than with more nachos? Particularly when they’re nachos in dessert form, like these ones. The half-size, shown above, is plenty for two people to share, but if you’re with a few friends — or you really like the idea of nachos for dessert — there’s also a huge platter-size Nacho Sundae you can gorge on.