If you've been around Memphis for any amount of time, you've seen Pancho's cheese dip. If you didn't try the Pancho's cheese dip that you saw, you missed out on one of the great treats along the border of Arkansas and Tennessee. While I'm sure the person exists, I've never actually heard someone say they don't like Pancho's.
That said, as often as I've eaten the dip, I'd never tried the restaurant. So, since I was in the area (and since it just happened to be Cinco de Mayo), my son and I decided to stop in and give the menu a try.
When they brought cheese dip out with the salsa (without us having to ask for it), I knew we were in the right place.
Warm chips. Cold salsa.
And cold cheesedip?
We were a little surprised that the ramekins of cheese dip served to us were delivered straight from the cooler to our table, but after tasting it, we decided that cold Pancho's was better than most other cheese dips and we started getting our orders together.
The boy opted for a quesadilla while I ordered a burrito as we watched the restaurant fill up with fellow Cinco de Mayo diners. My son, who is a bean and rice aficionado, gave Pancho's high marks for their fare while I ate so many chips smothered in cheese dip and salsa that I barely had the ability to lift my fork to go after my lunch. It is one of my biggest problems walking into a Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurant. I fill up well before my meal shows up.
Despite being full, I managed to make most of the food on my plate disappear which left me stuffed as I waddled out of the door and back to the car. Driving while hungry always puts me in a bad mood. Driving while stuffed just makes me miserable. So, we left on our three hour journey a little worse for wear, but happy that we stopped.
Now, don't confuse Pancho's in West Memphis, Arkansas as the same as Pancho's Mexican in Fayetteville. While they share the same proper name, they aren't the same restaurant. However, as I looked over the Pancho's in Fayetteville's Facebook page, I think it deserves a visit soon as well.
Oh, and if you're outside of the West Memphis area and can't find Pancho's cheese dip at your local grocer, apparently you can order it online and have it shipped directly to your door! Sounds like a great gift idea (hint, hint).
David Thornton is a two time national award winning writer, chef, husband, father, and fitness enthusiast.