Pancho’s in West Memphis was the very first Mexican restaurant I ever visited. It was the only one I ever knew existed until I was an adult.
When we were little girls, our Mama used to take us shopping in downtown Memphis and then we’d get to eat lunch in various restaurants including Pancho’s across the Mississippi River Bridge in West Memphis, Arkansas. I still love their taco sauce and their yellow cold cheese dip.
Morris and Clemmie Berger, the owners of Pancho’s, took a trip to Mexico in the 1950’s. They returned to West Memphis along with a Mexican lady to cook for their new Mexican restaurant. Their cheese dip and their taco sauce are no parts of “real” Mexican food, but they are well loved.
The cheese dip is served cold and the watered down American cheese is part of the “secret.”
Some folks even say that Pancho’s invented the cheese dip in 1956, but some claim the first place this type of dip was ever made was by Blackie Donnelly at his Mexico Chiquito Ark-Mex restaurant in 1935 in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Here are two recipes that will help you satisfy your Pancho’s craving without having to drive for hours to one of their two locations.
½ cup yellow mustard
½ cup sugar
½ cup oil
1/3 c vinegar
1 t. oregano
4-6 green onion tops (optional)
Mix all in the blender, store in the fridge.
Yellow Cold Cheese Dip
24 American cheese slices OR a 1 pound block of American cheese (not Velveeta)
1 can Rotel (I have also used Mexican style stewed tomatoes with success)
1 can of water
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper
8 – 10 slices pickled jalapeno
Crumble cheese into blender. Bring Rotel, water and spices to a boil. Pour over cheese in
blender. Blend until smooth. Add in jalapeno slices and blend again. Refrigerate and serve
cold. Makes 40 ounces of cheese dip. Freezes well.