Jim Parker

Portland publican Jim Parker is credited with inventing totchos, aka nachos with a tater tot base.

Jim Parker, a friendly, bearded fixture of Oregon’s craft beer scene and creator of the ubiquitous bar snack the totcho, has died, friends and family announced Wednesday.

Parker, a former journalist who worked in the craft beer world in Oregon, Colorado and Washington state, suffered a stroke on Nov. 15. He died Tuesday surrounded by his brother, Mike, sister, Mindy, and son, Joel, according to an update on the GoFundMe page set up to help with his recovery. Donations to that fund will now go to pay off outstanding medical bills and other costs associated with his passing.

Parker moved to Oregon from Colorado in 1999, eventually partnering with Lompoc Brewing owner Jerry Fechter to open Oaks Bottom Public House. There, in the mid 2000s, Parker suggested an unorthodox appetizer — tater tots, Oregon’s homegrown deep fried potato byproduct, dressed with melted cheddar and jack cheese, black olives, sour cream, jalapeños and other nacho fixings.

Fechter and Oaks Bottom’s cook were not immediately convinced

“They looked at me like I was growing a third ear. They said, ‘that sounds like stoner food,’” Parker told The Oregonian for a 2015 story on the secret history of the totcho. “They were humoring me to put them on the menu, but it ended up being one of our most ordered items.”

From there, totchos went on to star on bar and brewpub menus across the nation.

After Oaks Bottom, Parker worked or helped open Concordia Ale House, the Horse Brass, the Green Dragon, plus several pubs in Colorado and Washington state. Most recently, Parker was helping friend David Lederfine rebrand his transient Awesome Ales as Asher David Brewing & Cellarworks.

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