Nacho average dish: Local ways to enjoy a popular and versatile meal

OTSEGO COUNTY — Nachos occupy a special place in the collective American heart, mind and stomach.

Originating in the city of Piedras Negras, Mexico, nachos were invented for American palates. In 1943, the wives of U.S. soldiers visited a restaurant called the Victory club after hours. At the restaurant, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. He then served the dish calling it "nachos especiales," according to mobile-cuisine.com. In 1949, a cookbook by the name "A Taste of Texas" featured the recipe and nachos took the world by storm.

In their purest form, nachos are merely tortilla chips and cheese, but they have evolved to become so much more. Crispy, crunchy, creamy, gooey and you can eat them with your hands! Nachos' absolute universality makes them reign supreme in the upper echelons of perfect foods.

Here are some local dishes sure to satisfy the gnarliest nacho cravings:

• If you are in the mood for classic nachos, look no further than Nachos El Rancho from El Rancho Mexican Restaurant, 1240 W. Main St. Choose from either beef or chicken nachos, topped with Monterrey jack cheese, refried beans and poblano peppers, served with guacamole and sour cream. Simple and true.

• The Keg Bar, 10530 Old 27 South, Waters, also offers their version of a classic nacho dish. Nacho deluxe features a heap of nacho chips, seasoned beef, melted Mexican cheese, tomato, onion and green peppers with salsa and sour cream. Yum.

• The nachos from Tap Room 32, 140 W. Main St., take us a little outside the box. A choice of buffalo chicken or pulled pork on black beans, corn, mixed bell peppers, scallion, cheddar cheese, cilantro-lime cream, sriracha cream and fresh salsa is bound to excite any palate.

• The steak haus nachos from Porter Haus, 3885 Old 27 South, are an expertly composed symphony. Southwest seasoned beef ribeye with jalapenos, melted cheese and corn pico de gallo come together for a taste that is wickedly good.

• If you are looking for something entirely unconventional, the Greek nachos at Snowbelt Brewing Company, 132 W. Main St., are sure to intrigue you. Toasted pita points w/ house-made tzatziki sauce, spinach-artichoke dip, roasted artichokes, Roma tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta cheese scream "get in my belly."

From omnivore to vegan from spicy to mild there is a plate of nachos out there waiting for you.