LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Since 1928, McClard’s Bar-B-Q has never strayed from tradition. In 2020, it’s been the year of change.
The McClard’s sold their restaurant and are branching into new cities. Soon their famous flavor will be in the Capital city.
In almost a century, McClard’s has built quite a reputation. Whether it’s the smoked meats or famous tamale spreads, it’s brought former presidents and famous actors to their booths.
“Aerosmith that’s my favorite out of all of them,” Scott McClard said.
Scott grew up in the restaurant from the time he could walk, to when he could actually earn a paycheck.
“That was my first job was bus boy helper. I couldn’t even make it to bus boy,” McClard said.
Now, you’ll find him in the kitchen cutting the rubs and getting orders out. He says the recipe to their success is a business built in tradition.
“We don’t change much,” McClard said.
Then came 2020.
“It was tough,” McClard said.
In May, the McClard’s were faced with a decision, close up shop or sell. They decided to sell to two people who may not have grown up in the business but are no stranger to the food.
“Both my partner and myself are Hot Springs,” New owner Dean Jennings said.
Jennings is now the one running the kitchen and with new owners comes new ideas. Don’t worry, he’s not changing anything on the menu.
“Still doing everything the same the way they do it. They still make the food, smoke the meat in the pits they have,” Jennings said.
Instead, he’s bringing these classic cuts to the Capital city
“We have our own hickory smoker we brought onto this truck,” Jennings said.
He is putting the McClard’s flavor on wheels. It’s a modern take on this historic name.
“I’ve got to create the exact same product inside that people love as well as inside this truck and taste the exact same,” Jennings said.
For Scott McClard, straying from almost a century of tradition definitely brings some nerves.
“We’ve never waded off this deep of water before,” McClard said.
He said he will be there every step of the way from the second the doors open, keeping his fingers crossed they clean out the kitchen day one.
“I think we will and I hope we do,” McClard said.
McClards BBQ food truck will be open Wednesday through Saturday off Rahlings Circle in West Little Rock.