McClard’s is in a 1942 stucco building that once offered toot-your-horn car-hop service. It’s a small place, crowded with hordes of happy eaters who work their way through plates of beef or pork sided by cole slaw, French fries, and hot tamales. Pork ribs, crusted with an eye-opening red sauce, are good enough to put McClard’s in the uppermost echelon of America’s barbecue parlors.
Many regular customers get their ribs on a “rib and fry” plate, which is a rack of meaty bones with crusty edges and succulent insides completely covered over with a serving of superb French fried potatoes. Eating such a meal is an inevitably messy task, requiring nimble fingers and plenty of napkins, for utensils are useless; but the process of picking up a few fries every time you tear off a rib soon becomes an art unto itself; and the savor of the moist, sweet meat close to the bone is simply beyond description.
A section of McClard’s menu is devoted to tamale plates, ranging from plain tamales with beans to a full spread. A spread is McClard’s term for a pair of tamales topped with sauce-sopped chopped smoked meat, beans, crisp Fritos chips, raw onions, and shredded orange cheese. Spreads remind us of the locally-favored Frito pie, but with the added zest of genuine pit barbecue.