"I am an actor and have made movies all over this great land. I've eaten BBQ from Kansas to Missouri to the Carolinas to Alabama and McClard's is the best, no doubt about it. I've eaten there many times and everything they make is so good, I just don't understand why there isn't a McClard's everywhere I go."
F. Murray Abraham
Academy Award Winner, Amadeus
In 1928, Alex and Alice McClard ran a tourist court, which also had a gas station and a diner that served up barbecued goat. When a traveler stayed with them and couldn't pay his bill, he offered up a secret recipe for "the world's greatest hot sauce" They took the recipe and played with it and soon the barbecue business became bigger than the tourist court or the gas station. That was the beginning of a family business now in its fourth generation.
McClard's BAR-B-Q in Hot Springs, Arkansas began in 1928 and has remained a family business ever since. Scott McClard, the 4th generation of the family to work at the restaurant, said they take pride in following the same principles began by his great-grandfather. "Use the best ingredients you can get, buy the best quality cuts you can get, and don't skimp on any portions." They make their side dishes on the premises every day, using the same recipes his great-grandfather used. "You can't buy this stuff off of a truck. You can't take beans out of a can and make it taste like my great-grandfather's recipe."
Every great success has a story behind it! Well known for our barbeque sauce, McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Hot Springs, Arkansas is no exception.
Westside Tourist CourtIn the twenties, Alex and Gladys McClard owned Westside Tourist Court, just a few blocks west from the current location of McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant at 505 Albert Pike, Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
When a down-and-out traveler could not come up the the $10 he owed for his two-month stay, he asked the couple to accept instead a recipe for "the world's greatest bar-b-que sauce". Since something was better than nothing, the couple accepted the recipe. To their great surprise and delight, they tasted the truth in the traveler's claim.
Carhops hung trays of ribs and sandwiches on automobile doors.In 1928, the Westside Tourist Court became Westside Bar-B-Q with goat as its star menu attraction! In 1942, McClard's moved into the current location - a white-washed stucco building.
For many years, drive-in service was provided for a horn toot or blinking lights. Carhops hung trays of ribs and sandwiches on automobile doors while the driver dialed in the radio to catch the tunes from the neon jukebox inside. Today goat has disappeared from the menu, and the carhops from the curbside.
In the kitchen is still the McClard family: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of McClards continue the traditions set by Alex and Gladys. In the kitchen, though, is still the McClard family: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of McClards continue the traditions set by Alex and Gladys. Each week they serve 7,000 pounds of mouth-watering hickory-smoked beef, pork, and ribs. Alongside go 250 gallons of spicy bar-b-que beans, 250 gallons of cole slaw, 3,000 hand rolled hot tamales and 3,000 pounds of fresh-cut potatoes french-fried to perfection.
And over the crusty-on-the-outside, fall-away-tender-pink-inside smoky bar-b-que, in handy bottles on the side.... is the sauce. The famous sauce that started it all. The priceless sauce whose $10 recipe now sits locked away in a safe deposit box in downtown Hot Springs.