Announcements and publicity associated with the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalists announced

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Finalists have been announced for the 2017 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was launched by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in September to recognize Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.

Nominations were accepted from the public from September 9 through November 9 in four categories: Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event and People’s Choice.

A 12-person committee chose the finalists in each category and the winners will be announced at a reception and induction ceremony on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The business-casual reception will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 6:15 p.m.

Finalists include:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

  • Jones Bar-B-Q Diner of Marianna (Lee County) 
  • Craig’s Bar-B-Q of DeValls Bluff (Prairie County)
  • Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville (Pope County)
  • Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Sims Bar-B-Que of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • McClard’s Bar-B-Q of Hot Springs (Garland County)
  • Doe’s Eat Place of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Lassis Inn of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Neal’s Café of Springdale (Washington County)
  • Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
  • Franke’s Cafeteria of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales of Lake Village (Chicot County)

Proprietor of the Year

  • Joe St. Columbia of Helena-West Helena (Phillips County) 
  • Capi Peck of Little Rock (Pulaski County) 
  • Scott McGehee of Little Rock (Pulaski County) 
  • Paul Bash, Ed Moore, Louis Petit and Denis Seyer (the Continental Cuisine partnership) (Pulaski County)

Food-Themed Events

  • Annual Bean Fest and Great Arkansas Championship Outhouse Races in Mountain View (Stone County)
  • Gillett Coon Supper (Arkansas County)
  • World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-Off in Stuttgart (Arkansas County)
  • World Cheese Dip Championship in Little Rock (Pulaski County) 
  • Cave City Watermelon Festival (Sharp 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.

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 reserved by emailing Shelby Brewer or calling 501-324-9349. Tickets must be reserved no later than February 17, 2017. Payment will be accepted by cash or check at the February 28 event. Hors d’oeuvres and libations have been provided by the Arkansas Hospitality Association, Ben E. Keith and C&M Distribution.

To find out how to WIN tickets, visit our Facebook page!

Nearly 300 nominations were received for the inaugural class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. “We’re so pleased with the overwhelming response from the public. This is just the beginning of a program that will celebrate Arkansas food and culture for years to come” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage.

The 12-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, Christina Shutt and Lisa Speer.