2018 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Winners Announced

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Winners have been announced for the 2018 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was launched by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state. Nominations were accepted from the public in five categories: Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, Gone But Not Forgotten and People’s Choice.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee chose the finalists in each category and the winners were announced at a reception and induction ceremony at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock on March 6.

Winners are as follows:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

  • Franke’s Cafeteria of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant of Hot Springs (Garland County)
  • The Venesian Inn of Tontitown (Washington County) 

Proprietor of the Year

  • Mary Beth Ringgold (Pulaski County)

Food-Themed Events

  • Gillett Coon Supper (Arkansas County)

Gone But Not Forgotten

  • Cotham’s Mercantile in Scott (Pulaski County)

People’s Choice

  • JJ’s Lakeside Café in Lake Village (Chicot County)

450 nominations were received for the second class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

“We are so pleased to see the increasing response from the public in this conversation on Arkansas food and food culture. This is just the beginning of a program that will celebrate this special part of our heritage for years to come,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The 11-member selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Evette Brady, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson and Christina Shutt.