LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (News release) – Finalists have been announced for the 2020 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The Department of Arkansas Heritage launched the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame program in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.
More than 1,450 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties for the fourth class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The number of submissions more than doubled from last year. Nominations were accepted from the public during the month of October in the following five categories:
- Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
- Proprietor of the Year
- Food-Themed Event
- People’s Choice
- Gone But Not Forgotten
Winners will be announced at a reception and induction ceremony on Monday, February 24, 2020, at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The business casual reception will start at 5:00 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 6:15 p.m. The 2020 Arkansas Food of the Year was also announced as rice.
Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
- AQ Chicken House of Springdale (Washington County)
- Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
- Cattleman’s Steak House of Texarkana (Miller County)
- Ed Walker’s Drive-In & Restaurant of Fort Smith (Sebastian County)
- Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville (Pope County)
- Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
- Murry’s Restaurant of Hazen (Prairie County)
- Neal’s Café of Springdale (Washington County)
- The Ohio Club of Hot Springs (Garland County)
- Star of India of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
Proprietor of the Year
- Capi Peck of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
- Matt McClure of Bentonville (Benton County)
- Peter Brave of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
- Sami Lal of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
- Scott McGehee of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
- Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival (Bradley County)
- International Greek Food Festival (Pulaski County)
- Our Lady of the Lake Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner (Chicot County)
- Tontitown Grape Festival (Washington County)
Gone But Not Forgotten
- Habib’s Café (Phillips County)
- Mary Maestri’s (Washington County)
- Shaddon’s BBQ (Phillips County)
The People’s Choice Award has been chosen solely based on the number of nominations for a particular restaurant, so there are no finalists and the winner will be announced at the induction ceremony.
“We are overwhelmed with how the interest in Arkansas food continues to grow across our state,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are so pleased to be leading this discussion about food as a special part of Arkansas’s heritage and culture.”
The public is invited to attend the reception and induction ceremony. Tickets are available for purchase, but space is limited. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at ArkFoodHOF.com, or by emailing Andrew Vogler at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 501-324-9346. Tickets must be reserved no later than February 19, 2020. Payment will also be accepted by cash or check at the February 24 event. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit ArkFoodHOF.com.
The selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Swannee Bennett, Evette Brady, Julienne Crawford, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson and Christina Shutt.