For the love of cheese, ‘Nacho Militia’ fights for their rights at Scholz Garten


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Victory at last for nacho lovers everywhere and at least a bit of Austin’s weirdness has been restored thanks to a group of cavers and University of Texas academics.

On Tuesdays, Austinites Sam Young, Strick Strickland and a group of friends dine together at Scholz Garten to enjoy a beer and a plate of nachos—just like they have most Tuesdays over the past 50 years.

Strick Strickland at the Nacho treaty party (KXAN Photo/Andrew Schnitker)

This group stays connected around this shared space in downtown Austin, sharing a plate of cheese, chips and some jalapenos. Most started coming to Scholz’s when they were students at UT. From there, the group stayed together by making Tuesday night a weekly tradition with Young coordinating the time and the place.

“We got into the habit 50 years ago and never broke it. These nachos were particularly good until they weren’t even here anymore,” Strickland said.

Unfortunately, everything changed in March when Scholz Garten made a declaration that crushed this groups chips and cheese spirits.

The restaurant announced it was transitioning its menu closer to its German roots. Believe it or not, nachos are not native to German cuisine (and actually aren’t so easy to make at this Austin staple) so the restaurant made the decision to remove the item from its food list. 

However, this group wasn’t giving up that easily on its time-tested tradition.

The free nacho card and chant the group uses (KXAN Photo/Andrew Schnitker)

After several attempts to restore order by ignoring the menu and asking for nachos were friendly rebuked by the Scholz waitstaff, the group decided extra measures were needed in the form of an organized protest.

They dubbed themselves the Nacho Liberation Forces, and made plans to win their dinner back. For this effort to be successful, they needed to fully buy-in for the cause, which isn’t much of a problem with this crew.

The “Nacho Militia” created uniforms of paper hats and red bandanas, even making up a nacho-related chant to grab more attention.

Of course, Scholz’s desire to return to its German roots deserved to be respected, but the group contended that “their nacho tradition also had roots, roots firmly planted for a half century in the garden of Scholz’s”

With the two groups passionately opposed, it took people of great minds to settle the dispute. Just like in other great moments of history, a compromise was reached. Last Tuesday, June 4, Scholz’s co-owner Daniel Northcutt offered a peace accord to the Nacho Liberation Militia.

Nacho treaty at Scholz garden (KXAN Photo/Andrew Schnitker)

Northcutt declared every Tuesday as Nacho Revolution Day — nachos will be served at Scholz Garten. Each member received a card guaranteeing free nachos on Tuesdays. The two groups came together Tuesday to sign the peace treaty and enjoy a plate of their compromise.

“They’re card-carrying militia members and until their last breath they can come get free nachos on Tuesdays at Scholz,” Northcutt said.

To the victor goes the spoils — err, nachos, in this case.

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