Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans
Monday I gave them one last shot. I figured, I’d been there too early one day (they open at 11 a.m.), too late one evening (they close at 7 p.m. on weekdays), too wrong day (they’re never open on Sunday) and just unlucky all the way around. Maybe it was a sign.
Still, I was relieved to see the OPEN sign lit above the door when we drove up. I did go check the front door to make sure it was open before the family poured out of the vehicle, though.
We were the only customers that early afternoon, coming in after 2 p.m. The menu is written on chalkboard above the counter. There was a daily special — a medium pork sandwich, one side and a drink for $8.29.
We each ordered something different. Paul’s dad went for a large pulled pork sandwich (not pictured) with crinkle cut French fries and coleslaw for $9.69. The sandwiches listed on the board are Pudgy (for pork) and Moo (for brisket) and each comes in one of three sizes with a choice of that or a basket.
Paul went for the pulled pork BBQ Meat Platter ($8.29) and I chose the same but with beef brisket ($9.29). Both came with two sides and two triangles of Texas toast. We sat down and our beverages were brought to the table.
I thought it was cute — the restaurant has a high chair but no booster seat, but the proprietor (whose name escapes me right now) brought out a t-shirt box for Hunter to sit on. It was the perfect height.
He was the only one working at the time, his wife having taken off for a break. I gathered that the business is just the two of them, which explains the hours. He told me he comes in at six each morning to start the smoker.
Our lunches were delivered a few minutes later. I’ve never seen barbecue brought out on a square “fancy plate” before, but no matter, it’s still barbecue, right?
My brisket was pull-apart soft, no knife required (or provided, I probably should ask). It was a tiny bit dry but had a very deep red smoke ring. I found it went best with the spicy sauce — enough sweetness to augment the beef and enough spices to give it depth.
Then there were the two different potato salads. Paul tried the Home Style Potato Salad — which includes bacon, green onions and little pieces of tomato. He pronounced it good for a mayo-based potato salad, the caveat being he prefers his potato salads with mustard. The chunks of skin-on red potato range up to half an inch and are firm but not quite mash-tender.
In all, we were pleased with our visit. The price range seems a bit up there compared to Old Post BBQ across town, but the quality of the side items makes up for it. Baked beans, fried okra and green beans are other side item options. All sides are $1.75 for a single, $3 for a half pint and $4.75 for a pint. I think I’ll be getting a pint of that Cajun coleslaw and the County Potato Salad next time I come through.
You can also have a baked potato, baked sweet potato or side salad with your meal but it costs a bit more.
I also missed out on the Triple Layer Bars at the front… $2.25 for these big hunks of chocolate, coconut and peanut butter. Maybe next time.
You’ll find Pudgy Pig BBQ a block east of Weir Road on Parkway (geez, they just built Parkway when I lived there in the early 90s!) — so it’s an easy off-and-on from the interstate at the new Weir Road exit. They’re open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., an hour later on Friday and Saturday and like all proper barbecue restaurants closed on Sunday. (479) 967-6062.
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