Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalists named

by Tina Alvey Dale ([email protected]) 902 views 

The Department of Arkansas Heritage announced the finalists for the 2019 inductees into the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Thursday (Jan. 10).

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was launched in 2016 to recognize legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events in Arkansas. Categories include: Arkansas Food Hall of Fame; Proprietor of the Year; Food-themed Event; People’s Choice; and Gone but Not Forgotten.

“Food is an integral part of our Arkansas heritage. This is the third year for the statewide Arkansas Food Hall of Fame program that recognizes the legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events from every part of the state,” a media release of the event said.

This year’s finalists are:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
AQ Chicken House of Springdale; 4-Dice Restaurant of Fordyce; Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock; Burge’s Restaurant of Little Rock and Lewisville; The Craig Brothers Cafe of DeValls Bluff; Doe’s Eat Place of Little Rock; Keeney’s Food Market of Malvern; Kream Kastle of Blytheville; The Ohio Club of Hot Springs and Star of India of Little Rock.

Proprietor of the Year
Capi Peck of Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock; Loretta Tacker of Tacker’s Shake Shack in Marion; Peter Brave of Brave New Restaurant in Little Rock; Sami Lal of Star of India Restaurant in Little Rock; and Scott McGehee of Yellow Rocket Concepts in Little Rock, which owns ZaZa Fine Salad &Wood Oven Pizza Company; ZaZa Conway; Big Orange Burgers, Salads and Shakes in Little Rock and Rogers; Local Lime Tacos and Margaritas; Lost 40 Brewing and Heights Taco and Tamale.

Food-Themed Events
Hope Watermelon Festival, held in August in Hope; International Greek Food Festival, held in May in Little Rock; Our Lady of the Lake Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner, held in March in Lake Village; Tontitown Grape Festival, held in August in Tontitown; and World Championship Duck Gumbo Cookoff, held in November in Stuttgart; (Arkansas County)

Gone but Not Forgotten
Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce; Mary Maestri’s Italiano Grillroom of Springdale; La Scala Italian Restaurant of Little Rock; Uncle John’s of Crawfordsville; and The Shack Barbecue of Little.

The People’s Choice Award is chosen solely based on the number of nominations for a particular restaurant and will be announced at the induction ceremony at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 25 at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. A reception will be held prior to the ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

Nominations for the Hall of Fame were accepted from the public during October.

“This is the first year we’ve heard from every county across the state,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, in a media release, which noted there were 650 submissions this year. “We are so pleased to be leading this conversation about food as a special part of Arkansas’s heritage and culture. We look forward to celebrating the flavors of Arkansas for many years to come.”

The reception and induction ceremony are open to the public. Tickets are $20 each; space is limited. Purchase tickets on line at; by emailing Andrew Vogler at [email protected] or calling (501) 324-9346. Tickets must be reserved Feb. 8. Payment will also be accepted by cash or check at the event.

Past inductees include:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
2018 — Franke’s Cafeteria in Little Rock, McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Hot Springs and Venesian Inn in Tontitown

2017 — Jones Bar-B-Q Dinner in Marianna, Lassis Inn in Little Rock and Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales in Lake Village

Proprietor — Mary Beth Ringgold of Cajun’s Wharf, Capers and Copper Grill in Little Rock, 2018, and Denis Seyer, Paul Bush, Lousi Petit and Ed Moore with Continental Cuisine of Little Rock, 2017

Food-themed Event — Gillet Coon Supper, 2018, and Cave City Watermelon Festival, 2017

People’s Choice — JJ’s Lakeside Café in Lake Village, 2018, and Grotto Wood Fire Grill and Wine Cave in Eureka Springs, 2017

Gone but Not Forgotten — Cotham’s Mercantile in Scott, 2018

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