Now, first off, I have to silence the argument that always comes up. I have found myself in the middle of many arguments about the heritage of cheese dip in Arkansas. Though Nick Rogers pretty much shut down that argument years ago with his documentary In Queso Fever, there are some that still argue that Pancho's created the delicacy.
In the 58 years since, there have been few changes. Additions have been tacked on to the back, and a few new items (such as fajitas) have been added, but that's it. The cave-like interior includes secluded booths and long tables in the middle, recessed red and green lighting, and some rather dated but fun decorative items.
I wish the salad dressing was available at the store. The green pesto-like dressing is brought to the table in a squeeze bottle, and it's almost a Mexican vinaigrette with heat. And it's addictive. Boy, is it ever. I always ask for some to take home.
More easily identifyable options exist on the restaurant's favorites plates, which includes a Beef Muchacho (beef burrito, taco and enchilada and
Cream, which is deep fried ice cream covered in corn flakes; an apple chimi that's a fried tortilla topped with apples, cinnamon, whipped cream and vanilla ice cream; the traditional Mexican dish of flan and an ice cream sundae. And then there's the brownie sundae, a hot fudge brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a cherry.
A drive to the original location can be fun, and inside the building you'll find all sorts of cool memorabilia. But you can still enjoy the original cheese dip, a white version, red sauce and hot sauce. They're available at nearly 400 stores in our region, and they're also available to order online.
Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant is located on the east side of West Memphis on US Highway 70. For more information, visit the website.