The Division of Arkansas Heritage announced the winners of the 5th annual Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in a virtual award ceremony held on Facebook Monday night. The ceremony was hosted by Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
On the selection committee: Paul S. Austin, Chip Culpepper, Montine McNulty, Tim Nutt, Christina Shutt, David Ware, Jimmy Bryant, Cindy Grisham, Rex Nelson, Kat Robinson, Donna Uptigrove, Stanley Young and Stacy Hurst.
“Each year we take pride in honoring some of the incredible restaurants and industry stakeholders within our state, but something felt extra special this year,” Stacy Hurst said. “Celebrating Arkansas food is a great way for all of us to enjoy our state’s heritage and share it with others, especially during uncertain times. We are thankful for each person across the state for getting involved.”
Over 2,000 nominations were received this year from all 75 counties, which is a record for the program, marking a nearly 40% increase year over year. In the first Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, five years ago, “We were thrilled to get 300 nominations,” Hurst said.
To be eligible for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, a restaurant must be Arkansas-owned and operated, not part of a chain and at least 25 years old.
Thirteen finalists were in the category this year and three were inducted.
The 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Inductees:
Feltner’s Whatta-Burger, Russellville (Pope County)
Monte Ne Inn Chicken, Rogers (Benton County)
Star of India, Little Rock
AQ Chicken House, Springdale
Colonial Steak House, Pine Bluff
Dairy King, Portia
Dixie Pig, Blytheville
Herman’s Rib House, Fayetteville
K Hall & Sons Produce, Little Rock
Kream Kastle, Blytheville
Neal’s Cafe, Springdale
Ohio Club, Hot Springs
Trio’s, Little Rock
People’s Choice Award:
Bistro Bar & Grill, Helena-West Helena (Phillips County)
Gone But Not Forgotten:
Winner: Roy Fisher’s Steak House, North Little Rock
Browning’s Mexican Grill, Little Rock
Dairy Hollow House, Eureka Springs
Habib’s Cafe & Delicatessen, Helena-West Helena
Uncle John’s, Crawfordsville
Winner: Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Warren (Bradley County)
Arkansas Cornbread Festival, Little Rock
Magnolia Blossom Festival & World Championship Steak Cook-Off, Magnolia
Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Annual Spaghetti Dinner, Lake Village
Tontitown Grape Festival, Tontitown
World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-Off, Stuttgart
Proprietor of the Year
Winner: Matt McClure, The Hive, Bentonville (Benton County)
Sami Lal, Star of India, Little Rock
Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club, Pine Bluff
Capi Peck, Trio’s, Little Rock
Anthony Valinoti, Deluca’s Pizza, Hot Springs
And corn was named the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame food of the year.