Mount Nacheesmo, a five-pound platter heaped with all the good stuff—beans, beef, chicken, pork, Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, green pepper, sour cream, and more— has been the subject of blog posts and of college lore. And in 2012, the creation hit the big time!
Man v. Food host Adam Richman traveled to Tios Mexican Café to take the challenge: downing the five-pound delight in 45 minutes in an episode that aired on the popular show.
That’s quite an accomplishment for the host, of course, but an even larger testament to the popular Michigan eatery established in 1986 by Tim and Harriet Seaver.
Their son Jeremy Seaver, who took over the helm of the family business, spoke with Boxerbrand’s Recipe for Success blog about the popular family style restaurant that rose from humble beginnings.
Q: What’s a great Mexican hangout doing in Ann Arbor?
It goes back to my father Tim. He had been in pizza for a long time and he felt there were too many pizza places in Ann Arbor. There were five or six at the time, and zero Mexican. He felt like Mexican was the niche that needed to be served and he started collecting recipes for hot sauces.
Q: Your Dad went on to create his own hot sauce recipe that wowed the most discriminating judges.
The Tios No. 4 sauce is his own recipe. In 1987 it won the Best Hot Sauce Award by Chili Pepper Magazine at the North American Fiery Food Show. There were over 200 entries in the competition.
Q: Your restaurant and hot sauces have been thriving since 1986. What’s the secret to your success?
We started as a carry out and delivery spot with personality, which catered to college students. It was a dive, but it was a nice dive. When I entered the family business in 2001, we expanded and turned it into a full service restaurant with a bar that caters to a casual family dining clientele.
I think that reinvention has contributed to our success, but another part of it is the fundamentals: we strive to use the best ingredients, and though we’re not gourmet, we strive to do what we do very well. We recognize that the Ann Arbor public has great taste and we strive to maintain that quality.
Q: What is your most famous dish?
Our five-pound nacho dish, Mount Nacheesmo, is probably the most famous since we had the good fortune of being on television with it on Man v. Food. But I’d say our most popular is the wet burrito. We’ve changed so much over the past 25 years, and offer so many (items now), but people have been coming in for that for eight years. It’s a smother burrito with beans, rice, cheese, onions, tomato and pork.
— Tios Mexican Café uses Boxerbrand Shimmer menu covers in gold. “We really love them. They look great,” Jeremy Seaver says.