DAH Announces 2018 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Finalists

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Finalists have been announced for the 2018 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The Department of Arkansas Heritage launched the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.

Nominations were accepted from the public from September 11 through October 31 in 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 Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 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

  • Franke’s Cafeteria of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville (Pope County)
  • Doe’s Eat Place of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
  • McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant of Hot Springs (Garland County)
  • Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • White House Café of Camden (Ouachita County)
  • Ed Walker’s Drive-In of Fort Smith (Sebastian County)
  • Neal’s Café of Springdale (Washington County)
  • Dixie Pig of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
  • The Venesian Inn of Tontitown (Washington County)
  • DeVito’s of Eureka Springs (Carroll County)


Proprietor of the Year

  • Mary Beth Ringgold of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Capi Peck of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Scott McGehee of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Matt McClure of Bentonville (Benton County)

Food-Themed Events

  • Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival (Bradley County)
  • Hope Watermelon Festival (Hempstead County)
  • International Greek Food Festival (Pulaski County)
  • Gillett Coon Supper (Arkansas County)
  • World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook Off (Arkansas County)

Gone But Not Forgotten

  • Jacques and Suzanne of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
  • Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce (Dallas County)
  • Coy’s Steak House of Hot Springs (Garland County)
  • Cotham’s Mercantile in Scott (Pulaski 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.

A total of 450 submissions were received from 40 counties across the state for the second class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. “We’re so pleased to see the public support for this program continue to grow,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “We look forward to many years of celebrating Arkansas’s unique food traditions.”

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 at [email protected] or calling 501-324-9349. Tickets must be reserved no later than February 26, 2018. Payment will be accepted by cash or check at the March 6 event. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit

The 13-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, Swannee Bennett and Lisa Speer.