Consider if you will, one Mariano Martinez, high-school drop-out from Dallas, Texas. The year is 1971 and Mr. Martinez opens Mariano’s Hacienda, a restaurant serving Mexican food. Problems arise on opening night when servers realize they can’t keep up with orders for frozen margaritas. His staff has but one blender and they’re short on cut limes as well. Says Martinez in Pegasus News:
We were burning up blenders faster than I could afford to buy new ones, but customers were complaining that the drinks were inconsistent and bartenders were complaining that the drinks were too difficult to make.
Despondent, Martinez takes a long walk one night and stops at a local 7/11 store. Here he finds the machine that will make him famous: the Slurpee maker. Martinez notes that this contraption will solve all of his margarita woes. His drinks could be made quickly, in high volume, and each would be exactly the same as the one before. In this moment, Martinez transforms from restaurateur to inventor.
Though the Slurpee is Martinez’s inspiration, he modifies a soft-serve ice cream machine for his first prototype. Curiously, Martinez never patents this invention and is quoted as saying,
I never even dreamed I had anything to patent, I was only interested in my restaurant. I wasn’t interested in going into the machine business.
That first machine makes frozen margaritas at Hacienda for 34 years, after which it retires to Washington D.C.’s National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian. Museum director Brent D. Glass sagely tells us:
The invention of the frozen margarita machine is a classic example of the American entrepreneurial spirit.
Here at Blog of Funny Names, we celebrate the achievements of those with extraordinary and unusual names. Because Mariano’s Hacienda is still going strong (according to the company’s website, Mariano Martinez has three restaurant concepts, with six locations total*), we rim our glasses with salt and raise our frozen margaritas to the man who made it all possible. ¡Arriba, abajo, al centro, pa’ dentro!
* Please feel free to clarify, native Texan and fellow BoFN contributor, Kerbey.