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McClard’s Bar-B-Q was founded in 1928 by Gladys and Alex McClard, who started their business by smoking goats, not hogs. Gradually, goat was phased out, and pork, as well as beef, made the menu. Kyle McClard, pitmaster and Gladys and Alex’s great-grandson, represents the fourth generation to work in the family business in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Over the years, McClard’s has gained notoriety not only within the state, but throughout the country. McClard’s is known as a favorite eatery of former President Bill Clinton, who spent many years in Hot Springs. The walls are adorned with pictures of the former president, famous movie stars, singers, and reporters who made the pilgrimage to the restaurant known for its signature sauce, hickory-smoked meats, and a unique dish known as the Tamale Spread. Kyle and his partner, Anthony, work alongside five generations of McClard family members and a devoted staff, including Winona, who, in addition to being a waitress at McClard’s for over fifty years, eats one of their barbecue plates every day.