As the muggy Washington, D.C., summer of 1927 fizzled out, so did sales at two A&W root-beer stands. So the owners decided to add Mexican food. One checked out the idea with A&W, while his wife and his partner kept shop. A&W had no reservations, but the three still had to unwrap the mystery of hot tamales, which they had never made. To get some tips, the couple went to the chef at the Mexican embassy. Allie and Bill Marriott left with stacks of recipes, and the root-beer stands became the first of The Hot Shoppes.