The New Building
As we headed into Hot Springs, we spotted the neon sign and building, totally surrounded by cars. This oasis of white washed stucco and neon has been the home of McClard's BBQ since 1942. The original business opened just down the road, in 1928.
A Packed House
We headed through the lot, towards the corner door, under the metal awning. We stepped inside to find the 3-room restaurant packed. It was a seat yourself place with others waiting. At least the bustling staff did help point out tables as they opened.
We thought about sitting at the counter, which might have given us a more authentic experience. But there was no room there either.
Locals or Tourists?
We didn't have to wait long before we were seated in a booth, surrounded by diners, feasting on bbq! We noticed a lot of talking between tables, but determined they were not all chatty locals. Many of the dining folk belonged to the same club... of Corvette drivers who were enjoying the annual Corvette Arkansas Weekend.
Alex and Alice McClard
There were lots of photos on display, showing Alex and Alice in their white aprons and posing in front of their building. I'll bet back in the day, when things got really hopping and orders were being hollered, those nearly matching names could have been a problem. Alex's great grandson, Scott McClard is now running the business. Hopefully Scott doesn't have a wife named Scout or he could have the same issues.
More Stuff on the Walls
The most obvious might be President Clinton, since he once lived in Hot Springs. Most of the celebs would not impress anyone under the age of 50... Jerry Van Dyke for example.
The hickory smoked, pork ribs were pretty amazing with a crispy outside and a moist & meaty inside. There were 5 big & yummy ones! The beans were full of flavor and mystery. There was almost a mashed texture, with hidden flavor bursts of...? I'm not sure. The chopped slaw had lots of flavor without being mayo-soupy. Very yum.
If I'd been able to handle more food, I would have ordered the old McClard's tradition, Tamale Spread. I spotted an order nearby and it was quite a sight, with 2 tamales, fritos, chopped beef, onion, beans, cheese and sauce. The recipe was created by Alex years ago, when he needed something hearty to sober up his dishwasher.
By the time we paid up at the counter, there were a few empty chairs and the staff was getting to slow down a bit. There is no purple in my photo, but I spotted a little of the royal color on almost every server and cook. A few had purple shirts, but I also saw a purple arm band and a purple band-aide, displayed on a pocket. It took me a while, but I'm guessing this was in honor of Prince, of Purple Rain fame. He had died just the day before.
A Retro Exit
As Don and I headed out the corner door, we noticed a cute Chevy Nova parked nearby. That added a nice touch to the retro image, as we pulled out of the lot. Fun little place and pretty amazing BBQ!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.