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 A few days in Arkansas

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Ort. Carlton.

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  • Location: Athens, GA
RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 1:17 AM (permalink)
I forgot to toss in a serious post and thank you profusely for your travel report. I gained two pounds just glancing at those photos, so now I gotta go walk it off in Atlanta somehow....
Overwaitingly, Ort. in Amazing Athens.

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    RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 8:22 AM (permalink)
    When I ate at McClard's, I had to have one of these over-the-top tamales. It seemed to be the item of choice for many of the diners that afternoon. pb

    Photo from Michael Stern's review[url='']here[/url].
      mr chips

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      • Location: portland, OR
      RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 8:57 AM (permalink)
      Those pies look sensational! They let you in early for fresh pie! Keep the reports coming. It is always a pleasure to read of your adventures.

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        • Location: Stoughton, WI
        RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 9:37 AM (permalink)
        I don't recall ever seeing tamales accompanied by saltines before. Is this something specific to McClard's or more of a southern regional thing?


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          RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 9:48 AM (permalink)
          Originally posted by Brad_Olson

          I don't recall ever seeing tamales accompanied by saltines before. Is this something specific to McClard's or more of a southern regional thing?


          McClard's tamale "spread" is a layered mountain of steamy corn tamales, spicy chili, crunchy Fritos, crisp raw onions, rich grated cheese, and hot barbecue sauce. I think you're supposed to eat the saltines with the upper layers, before you get to the tamale base. pb
            mayor al

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            RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 9:48 AM (permalink)
            One of the things Michael Stern put an accent on in his book write-up of McClards BBQ was the 'side' of Beans they served. They were very good as well!! We really enjoyed our plate of Ribs, fries, and cup of beans!

            We visited McClards about 10 years ago, using the ROADFOOD Book as our guide in Arkansas. As BB did we got there a short time before the opening hour...The place was deserted. Suddenly about 5 minutes before opening time, a stream of vehicles converged on the parking areas on both sides of the building, looking like a Police Raiding force. People poured out of the cars and trucks and in no time at all the place was full!

            ORT Asked a question about other good BBQ in Hot Springs. There are several other BBQ stands around the town. The only other one that we visited back in '98 was also included in Stern's Roadfood Book. It was STUBBY's BBQ. We got a bunch of Ribs and a couple of bags of Chips to take out from there. The ribs were fine. I don't recall much about the place and have no photo record of that visit. I do know it is still in operation (check the Yellow Pages!) but it is no longer reviewed in the Stern's Books.

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              RE: A few days in Arkansas Tue, 11/4/08 10:21 AM (permalink)
              The Saltines sure look out of place with that dish!!!!!!
                Curbside Grill

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                RE: A few days in Arkansas Wed, 11/5/08 2:15 AM (permalink)
                Those tamales look over the top. Won't get them in a hospital. so hungry viewing these posts.
                Shadow knows.

                  RE: A few days in Arkansas Wed, 11/5/08 11:12 AM (permalink)
                  Originally posted by Nancypalooza

                  Cliff if you go to a place that seems closed and get the door to Pie Heaven opened up for you, I think you have experienced the opposite of being Travelin' Manned.
                  Good one and I agree. It would have been heartbreaking to miss out on those pies.!

                  Baah Ben-
                  Yes, McClard's BBQ is very popular with President Clinton. He grew up in Hot Springs and he apparently still eats there occasionally. Unfortunately, I have no experience with tamales in Mississippi, which I will be correcting in a few weeks. Maybe someone else can comment.

                  It is always great to hear from one of my favorite posters. Livermush with chocolate gravy? You lost me on that one, though! I did visit another barbecue place in Hot Springs called Mickey's Bar-B-Q. Two other places that were on my radar were Purity Barbecue and Stubby's, which Al The Mayor mentioned.

                  I sure do wish I had room for one of those tamale spreads, because it looks wonderful. But when you are traveling by yourself, you can't eat everything. Had my cousin Johnny been with me, we definitely would have ordered one. And had ChiTownDiner been with us, we would have sampled a little of everything on the menu!

                  I missed out on the beans. Damn!

                    RE: A few days in Arkansas Wed, 11/5/08 1:53 PM (permalink)
                    Saturday November 1, 2008 cont.

                    Since this was my very first visit to Hot Springs, I had been looking forward to checking the area out. There is a large tower on the top of a hill, so that seemed the ideal place to start. Hot Springs Mountain Tower is 218 feet tall and gives a great view of the area. Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of the structure itself, but here is what the woods around the city look like from up there.

                    As you can see, the trees had just started changing colors in Arkansas.

                    At the top of the tower, they had a small museum on the history of the city. To say that Hot Springs has a colorful past would be an understatement. Anyway, one thing that caught my eye is that they used to have a minor league baseball here team called the Bathers.

                    That name just struck me as funny.

                    I went into town to see the famous Bathhouse Row.

                    Some really lovely old buildings here. What used to be the Fordyce Bathhouse is now the national park visitor center and museum.

                    Some rather opulent bath facilities here,

                    though some of these contraptions don't look particularly comfortable.

                    After being a good tourist for about three hours, it was time for more barbecue. This time, I went to Mickey's Bar-B-Q.

                    When I pulled up, there were no other cars in the parking lot. Not a good sign! I walked into the customerless front room and was met by the stares of two woman. They looked like they wanted to be anyplace else but there. I chose the pork sandwich and beans off the small menu and moved down the short cafeteria line. The humorless lady asked in a way I didn't like if that was all I wanted. You would think she would just be happy to have a customer. Still, I spotted some deviled eggs and added them to my order.

                    I took my tray into the side dining room. The pork bbq sandwich was covered with what sure seemed to be store bought cole slaw. The pork itself was just okay.

                    Certainly edible, but nothing really to recommend about it, either. The beans were straight from a can. I did like the deviled eggs, though. Oh well, not every place can be McClard's!

                    Two things I did like about the little dining room. First, this old retro menu board.

                    And the glowing pumpkin made me think of CajunKing.

                    I got back in the car and headed out of Hot Springs.

                    Much more to come.....
                    <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 01/5/09 3:45 PM>

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                      RE: A few days in Arkansas Wed, 11/5/08 2:56 PM (permalink)
                      Sorry to hear about Micky's. You have a good attitude, pick up and move on.

                      If you want to drop them an email, I found their web page


                        RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 9:48 AM (permalink)
                        Thanks for adding their website. I don't think I will email them. If the food was especially bad or I didn't like the way I was treated, that would be different.

                          RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 10:42 AM (permalink)
                          Saturday November 1, 2008 cont.

                          My next stop was Ed & Kay's in Benton, which sits right next to I-30. Which makes me wonder why my GPS took me down a dead-end dirt road to get there.

                          Even in the middle of the afternoon, the place was fairly busy.

                          Note the Halloween themed play on words on the sign.

                          Since I have had barbecue the last two meals, I was ready for some Southern vegetables. So, I focused on that page of the menu, which also had the desserts.

                          But, one other thing on the menu caught my eye.

                          It was surprising to see horseshoes on a menu in Arkansas. Isn't that a Springfield, Illinois thing?

                          Here is what I ended up with on my four veggie plate: green beans, purple hull peas, pan fried potatoes and carrot raisin salad.

                          I don't think I have ever had potatoes like that before. The creamy carrot raisin salad, with small pieces of pineapple was especially good.

                          You can't come to Ed & Kay's without a slice of pie or two. So, I ordered a piece of the amazingly tall lemon meringue to eat there

                          and some pumpkin pie to take with me.

                          Though it wasn't close to the best meal of the trip, Ed & Kay's is a solid family restaurant with really good food.


                          Next, I got on I-40 heading west and checked into my hotel in Russellville. While unpacking, I discovered I had accidentally taken the remote control from my hotel in Memphis with me. Oh well, I will have time to return it before my trip ends.

                          First stop in Russellville was Feltner's Whatta-Burger.

                          This is part of the huge fast food chain, but they sure don't act like it here.

                          With it being a Saturday night, the place was packed!

                          Still, as soon as you walk in the door, there is someone there to take your order. Similar to Kincaid's in Fort Worth, they write your name and order on a paper bag.

                          Here is the menu board.

                          Since I had already eaten so much today and planned on another stop later, I went with the single with cheese, with the works.

                          It may not be clear in the photo, but this is no ordinary fast food burger and was quite good. The small fries

                          also tasted fresh for a fast food place.

                          There is a large selection of shakes available and I went with the cherry.

                          For dessert, I grabbed a peach fried pie.

                          The young people working here are very friendly and seem to really care about doing a good job. Expect to be treated well here. I am assuming most of them go to school at Arkansas Tech across the street.

                          The inside is also decorated in cutesy little signs, some funny, some not.

                          I took photos of quite a few of them, but that was the only one that turned out.

                          Before I left, the place got even busier as people were arriving from the Arkansas football game. The line was now well out the door. I headed back to my hotel.


                          I had wanted to have a late dinner at Catfish 'N in Dardenelles, but I was now too full and too comfortable in my hotel room to go out again.

                          Much more to come.....
                          <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 01/5/09 3:46 PM>

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                            RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 11:48 AM (permalink)
                            It looks like that pan fried potato dish was made with food service fries? Not a bad idea, really. And I love the burger joint--that burger does look mighty tasty. I'm disappointed I can't get a 'Bathers' ball cap--beautiful pics from Hot Springs.

                              RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 1:31 PM (permalink)
                              WOW! Where to start - the pies looked great! Not sure what PCP is? did you see the cobbler? Cherry choice also. The Whatta-Burger looked really good and jumping. Is that the same chain as in Texas metro area?

                              Must have some Springfield influences to have the Horseshoe on the menu...and even the Pony!

                                RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 1:52 PM (permalink)
                                Sunday November 2, 2008 

                                I had hoped to get off to an early start since my breakfast destination was hours away. But, I slept in later than I had wanted to. It wasn't until at least an hour into my morning drive that I realized that due to the time change for daylight savings time, I was now going to arrive at the restaurant before they even opened.

                                So, I made a quick detour into Alma for a photographic opportunity that Travelin Man would enjoy. Alma is known as the spinach capitol of the world, so they have a Popeye statue in the middle of downtown.

                                Needing to hit a bathroom, I found a Braum's near the highway. And as long as I am here, I mind as well grab a two scoop (chocolate peanut butter and mint chocolate chip) hot fudge sundae.

                                Yeah, I did the same rationalizing in Tulsa!

                                Once I got on I-540 headed north, the scenery turned spectacular. Between the mountains, the leaves changing and the fog, there was also something to look at. Since I was driving, it was tough to get a good shot, but you can kind of get the idea from this one.

                                My destination was The War Eagle Mill outside Rogers. It is in the middle of nowhere, but there are signs leading you there.

                                You come to a one lane 100 year old bridge and the mill is on the other side.

                                The place has an interesting history as a number of mills have been built on this ideal spot.

                                The first floor has a general store feel to it.

                                Lots of the wonderful sounding products they make here at the mill are for sale.

                                You can also see the inside wheel working on the first floor and there is someone there to answer your questions.

                                The second floor is more of a gift shop and also has nice plates and dishes for sale. The third floor, is where the Bean Palace restaurant is located.

                                Shaped like a hay loft,

                                you place your orders at the counter to the left in the photo. Here is the breakfast menu on the day of my visit.

                                I went with the buckwheat waffle and sausage.

                                To pour the syrup on the waffle, they give you this handy little device.

                                As someone who hates getting sticky stuff on his hands, I sure do appreciate this.

                                For a side, I went with the tasty yellow corn grits.

                                Topped off with a generous portion of butter, these were very enjoyable.

                                The Sterns highly recommend the cobbler here, so I got the blackberry.


                                It wasn't until later that I was kicking myself for not trying a biscuit. How do you visit a restaurant as part of a mill and not get a biscuit?

                                Before I left, I watched the water wheel do its thing from the bridge.

                                This is one of the great Roadfood settings!

                                The facilities? Outhouses!


                                Much more to come.....

                                <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 01/5/09 3:47 PM>

                                  RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 3:05 PM (permalink)
                                  The PCP pie stand for pinapple, coconut and pecan. Since I had cobbler the night before and was planning on having cobbler with breakfast the next day, I stuck with the pies at Ed & Kay's. I do imagine they were good, though!

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                                    RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 3:28 PM (permalink)
                                    Buffetbuster - Thanks for posting all these great pictures, I am really enjoying your trip report. My family and I did the same thing a year ago, hitting many of the same places (McClards, Feltner's Whattaburger, and War Eagle Mill). I like hearing that they are all still good, though it may be a while before I'm able to get back out there again. I will second your comment about the service at Feltner's - those folks are really on the ball, and truly do seem to care about the restaurant's reputation and history.

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                                      • Location: Nantucket, MA
                                      RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 3:54 PM (permalink)
                                      Ort-Tho I've enjoyed McClard's BBQ a few times, I haven't tried any other joints in Hot Springs.On my radar for future trips would be:
                                      Mickey's 1622 Park Ave. (501) 624-1247
                                      Purity Bar-B-Que 1000 Malvern Ave. 623-4006
                                      Stubby's 3024 Central 624-1552
                                      I'd have to agree with buffetbuster that McClard's has some of the best ribs I've ever eaten.If the other joints in town compare then the people of Hot Springs are some lucky.
                                        mayor al

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                                        RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 3:55 PM (permalink)
                                        Sorry you missed "CATFISH N". We have ejoyed dinner there several times over the years and have yet to have one that was less than an 8 on the 10 scale. We especially like the setting, on the river just below a large dam. Maybe next time you'll get there. it is worth a bit of a side-trip.

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                                          RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 4:43 PM (permalink)

                                          (chocolate peanut butter and mint chocolate chip) hot fudge sundae.

                                          WOW what a choice of flavors

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                                            RE: A few days in Arkansas Thu, 11/6/08 6:15 PM (permalink)

                                            Definitely a buffet busting trip! Thanks for bringing back memories of McClard's and Ed & Kay'ds from my childhood. Mc Clards was always on the menu when we went to Hot Springs. My parents used to bring back ribs when they went to Oaklawn. And Ed and Kays (Pat's in those days) was our meeting spot for family get-togethers with aunts and cousins in the area.

                                              RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 8:11 AM (permalink)
                                              Yeah, now I'm thinking I should have gone with butterscotch topping instead of hot fudge!

                                              I'm glad you agree with me on the ribs at McClard's. Those other places in Hot Springs can't possibly be as good, can they?

                                              Now you got me really disappointed that I missed out on Catfish 'N. I probably could have eaten there that night, but as full as I was, I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I should. Sure gives me a reason to go back!

                                              Thanks for the nice words and for letting me know you went on a similar trip last year. Did you take a whole week and just a few days like I did? Was McClard's as good for you too?

                                                RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 11:01 AM (permalink)
                                                Sunday November 2, 2008 cont.

                                                This was my first visit to northern Arkansas, and I was very much looking forward to the scenery and exploring the little towns. One of the towns I drove through was Harrison, which gets kudos for having such a lovely art deco building.

                                                But, they lose points due to this:

                                                The Goblins? Seriously? My high school's nickname was the Planets and I think this is a lame name. All of a sudden, the Bathers are looking better!

                                                My next food stop was at Coursey's,

                                                just south of the tiny town of St. Joe. It is now a multiple building operation,

                                                but the middle (light green) building is the store. The little wood structure in the foreground is their original building.

                                                Coursey's is best known for their smoked hams. They do have some hams hanging inside the store,

                                                but obviously, I couldn't buy a whole ham and try to get it home.

                                                In the back of the store, they have a counter where you can get a sandwich. Here is the small menu board.

                                                I went with the smoked ham and smoked cheddar on wheat.

                                                Once again, the photo might not do the sandwich justice, but they really piled on the meat and cheese. Just a little brown mustard and I was good to go.

                                                They also had baggies of smoked turkey and cheeses for sale, so I bought a couple of those for snacking.

                                                There is no place to eat inside, so I took my sandwich to a picnic table underneath the trees.

                                                The sandwich was delicious The ham was slightly sweet, slightly smoky and very full-flavored. I realize that I am just eating a ham sandwich at a picnic table, but this was a great Roadfood experience and I loved this place!

                                                I have every intention of ordering a ham and some of their fine looking bacon around the holidays.

                                                BTW, the huge sandwich, a root beer and two baggies of smoked goodies came to $8.00. This was typical as everything I ate in Arkansas was almost shockingly inexpensive.


                                                I continued north and east and stopped in Fred's Fish House

                                                in Mountain Home. The sign said they overlook Lake Norfolk. So, I asked to be sat next to the window. Well, you can see the lake alright, but overlooking the water may be stretching it a bit.

                                                One of the things I like about the menu was this column, that listed what you could purchase ala carte.

                                                I should have taken advantage of this and tried more things.

                                                My meal started off with a plate of an onion, a dill pickle, pickled tomato and wonderfully fresh, sweet cole slaw.

                                                As an appetizer, I couldn't pass up the interesting sounding fried green beans.

                                                There was no way I could not come to Arkansas and not get some catfish, so that is what I ordered.

                                                There were four sweet, crunchy fillets and I enjoyed these very much. The french fries and hushpuppies were nothing special.

                                                The young guy who waited on me was very impressive. He was outgoing, friendly and really hustled. He seemed to be everywhere, waiting on every table. When I was paying my bill, I mentioned how good my service was to the woman who appeared to be the owner. She asked, "Which of the twins did you have?" Well, that would explain it!

                                                I drove through some beautiful country to arrive at The Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View.

                                                Unfortunately, the restaurant and the museum were closed. In fact, there was no one around at all. I did check their website before my trip and unless I read something wrong, they should have been open. Are you happy Travelin Man?

                                                Tired, I checked into my hotel in Conway. I did get out the phone book to see if anyplace interesting was open. But being a Sunday night, everything was closed. So, I stayed in my room and ate my smoked cheese, smoked turkey

                                                and the pumpkin pie from Ed & Kay's.

                                                Much more to come.....
                                                <message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 01/5/09 3:48 PM>

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                                                  RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 11:14 AM (permalink)
                                                  Cliff we were the Capitols. Yes, as in a building. It's kind of hard to get people excited for the buildings. Goblins look like downright genius in comparison--and the picture's kinda cute. It looks like you really got off the beaten path for this trip--lovely shots!

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                                                    RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 11:52 AM (permalink)
                                                    The twins, that's funny.

                                                    Looks like a real fun trip. Enjoying the report!!!

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                                                      • Location: Hot Springs, AR
                                                      RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 11:54 AM (permalink)

                                                      According to their (somewhat confusing) calendar, I think the Ozark Folk Center closed for the season on Nov 1. Too bad you missed it - it's a wonderful place to spend a few hours.

                                                      We've lived in Hot Springs for 7 years now, so we're lucky enough to enjoy McClard's whenever we're in the mood for BBQ, which is pretty often! You must order a spread the next time you're in town - they're amazing. There are no other BBQ places quite as good as McClard's, but our next choice for ribs is actually Smokin' In Style, which no one else has mentioned yet.

                                                      Hope you enjoyed the rest of your AR tour!
                                                        The Travelin Man

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                                                        RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 1:29 PM (permalink)
                                                        Man, a giant Popeye statue and the "Home of the Goblins" does a trip get any better? Come least Goblins is seasonal, and the use of the phrase "Go Gobs" is kind of priceless. Embrace the Goblins, my friend!!!

                                                        Oh...and I would never wish my bad restaurant luck on anyone else. My new mantra when others travel may be "May all your restaurants be open."

                                                          RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 2:42 PM (permalink)
                                                          Go Gobs...The new mantra for Captain Pie!

                                                          Coursey's looks pretty cool...was there more of a menu or just the two types of meat sandwiches?

                                                            RE: A few days in Arkansas Fri, 11/7/08 2:47 PM (permalink)
                                                            Travelin Man-
                                                            Way to take the high road! Oh, and the only Gobs and I want to see have pumpkin filling!

                                                            Can't say I am too impressed by the Capitols, either. But still, the Goblins?

                                                            Thanks for the info. I obviously didn't check out the website as closely as I should. Too bad I missed the place because it looked like it would have been enjoyable. Lucky you being able to go to McClard's BBQ anytime you want!

                                                            That was the entire menu, but I was grateful for that. It would be tough enough trying to sneak bbq spaghetti on the plane, yet alone an entire ham!

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