Gretchen Weiners' father may have invented Toaster Strudel, but who invented Hot Pockets? Sales of the frozen delicacies have apparently skyrocketed during the coronavirus quarantine, according to Food and Wine, which honestly makes total sense. Hot Pockets last for years in the freezer, they're totally delicious, and hey — some of them have vegetables, making them slightly nutritious.
Paul Merage and David Merage were the brains behind the delectable childhood staple, and their accomplishments shockingly go far beyond the creation of the delectable Hot Pocket — stay tuned for more on the creators of the frozen treat.
Who are the creators of the Hot Pocket, Paul and David Merage?
The glorious frozen creations known as Hot Pockets were created by two Jewish-Iranian brothers named Paul and David Merage, who immigrated from Tehran to the U.S. for college, according to Saveur. After earning an MBA, Paul worked in marketing at Maxwell Coffee House, but a trip to Europe inspired him to start a frozen waffle business alongside his brother, and thus, former frozen food giant Chef America Inc. was born.
After their frozen breakfast items sold successfully, David and Paul noticed a market desire for on-the-go lunch and dinner items. And although times were tough for both brothers, they were able to create and sell a portable sandwich-like product that was crispy on the outside, while concealing the inside fillings. This eventually debuted as the "Tastywich" in 1980, before it was renamed the Hot Pocket.
What are Paul and David up to these days?
The Merage brothers ended up selling Chef America to Nestlé in 2002 for $2.6 billion, and both went off to pursue other things. According to Parsa Community Foundation, Paul founded the Merage Foundations, is a Trustee of the University of California, Irvine, and donated $30 million to the School of Business at the University of California, Irvine. He also serves as Chairman of Falcon Investment Management, a private investment management firm; Stoneridge Capital Partners, and Silverpoint Investments.
Meanwhile, David is currently running Consolidated Investment Group in Colorado, and also co-founded the David and Laura Merage Foundation, which is a Colorado-based non-profit that focuses on community development and early childhood education. Even with the amounts Paul and David have both donated to the greater good, the Merage family has still managed to place as the 139th wealthiest family in America.
Which Hot Pocket flavor is best?
While everyone has their favorite Hot Pocket variety, the best is widely debated among fans. Spoon University ranked its top three favorites as Five Cheese, followed by Four Cheese, and Cheddar Cheeseburger, while Thrillist considers the No. 1 best flavor to be Bacon Cheddar Cheese Melt with Pretzel Bread, which is followed by Ham & Cheese with Crispy Buttery Seasoned Crust, and then, finally, Pepperoni Pizza with Crispy Crust.
Obviously, the Twitterverse has their own opinions — see what fans have said about what they consider to be the best Hot Pocket flavors below.
Lmaooo this is hella serious 😂 lol but pepperoni is fire I like ham and cheese the best though lol— the boy (@Taylorghini) April 13, 2017
The one with the stuff inside— S A T A N (@loveulikeatable) June 17, 2019
Ham and cheese forever— G O D (@saxophone_exe) June 17, 2019
the cheddar, chicken, and broccoli is the best hot pocket flavor. dont @ me— yeo’s soy milk (@thekristiyoung) November 7, 2017
Hot Pockets are truly one of the greatest snacks ever, so it comes as no surprise fans are rediscovering their love for them in quarantine. Paul and David are true geniuses, and we have no idea where we'd be without them today.