JUST PEACHY Brian Chilson

Our worries that a pandemic that had shut down commerce in Arkansas was a poor time to ask our populace where they liked to go out and spend their money on food, drink and hip threads, or what gym was their favorite, or which resort they liked to enjoy proved unfounded. The readers who took part in the Arkansas Times’ annual survey of what’s Best in Arkansas weren’t so pessimistic that they didn’t envision being able to return to their favorite watering holes and beauty parlors. In a nod to this extraordinary time of limited socializing and constant hand-washing, we also added a section seeking readers’ votes on the best in pandemic life, like booze-to-go, a development so pleasing we hope it continues after we’re all vaccinated and unmasked. So here, for the umpteenth year in row, are the Best of Arkansas winners, from curbside service to canoe routes, antiques to eyewear, salons to sporting goods.

Pandemic life

Curbside Restaurant Service


Star of India

Finalists: Trio’s, The Pantry, Heights Taco & Tamale


Restaurant Delivery



Finalists: Pizza D’Action, Damgoode Pies, Fantastic China

Booze To-Go Business 

Colonial WineS & Spirits

Finalists: Legacy Wine and Spirits, O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor, Sullivant’s Liquor


Most Innovative Restaurant

The Root Cafe

Finalists: Trio’s, @ The Corner, Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom

Brian Chilson

Most Innovative Business 

(excluding restaurants) 

Jerry’s Barber Shop in the Heights

Finalists: Rocktown Distillery, Just Peachy, Bella Vita Jewelry

Grocery Store Amid the Pandemic


Local winner: Edwards Food Giant

Finalists: Trader Joe’s, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods

Online Fitness/Yoga Class

Jolly Bodies

Finalists: Blue Yoga Nyla, Bolte Fitness, ZenStudio Fitness

Livestreamed Local Concert/Event

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s “Bedtime with Bach” 

Finalists: Cliff and Susan Erwin Prowse, Club Nevermore, Rodney Block

What restaurant are you going to visit first when you’re comfortable going out in the world? 


Finalists: Four Quarter Bar, Local Lime, The Pantry

Local Entertainment


Michael Shaeffer

Finalists: Katherine Strause, Lisa Krannichfeld, Milkdadd


Charles Portis

Finalists: Emily Roberson, Rhett Brinkley, Monica Clark-Robinson 


Andre “Big Dre” Price

Finalists: Chase Myska, Gene Berry, Angry Patrick

Country Band/Artist


Finalists: Bonnie Montgomery, Mark Currey, Justin Moore

Dance Club

Club 27

Finalists: Club Sway, Club Nevermore, Discovery Nightclub


DJ Porterhouse

Finalists: Michael Shaeffer, Tom Wood, G-Force


Daniel Campbell

Finalists: Graham Gordy, Jeff Nichols, Mark Theideman 

Gay Bar 

Club Sway

Finalists: Six Ten Center, Discovery Nightclub, Triniti Nightclub

Hip-Hop Artist

Big Piph

Finalists: 607, Dazz & Brie, Rah Howard

Jazz Band/Group

Rodney Block Collective

Finalists: Ted Ludwig Trio, Funkanites, Marquis Hunt

Late-Night Spot

Four Quarter Bar

Finalists: Midtown Billiards, White Water Tavern, Willy D’s Rock & Roll Piano Bar

Live Music Festival

King Biscuit Blues Festival 

(Helena-West Helena)

Finalists: Yadaloo Music Festival, MusicFest (El Dorado), Hillberry (Eureka Springs)

Live Music Venue

Stickyz Rock n’ Roll Chicken Shack

Finalists: White Water Tavern, Rev Room, Four Quarter Bar 

Local Actor/Actress

Barry Clifton

Finalists: Brittany Sparkles, Paul Prater, Mary Steenburgen

Local Theater

Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Finalists: The Studio Theatre, Argenta Community Theater, The Weekend Theater

Movie Theater

Riverdale 10 Cinema

Finalists: Movie Tavern, Regal UA Breckenridge, Cinemark Colonel Glenn 18


Museum of Discovery

Finalists: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville), Arkansas Arts Center, Historic Arkansas Museum

Neighborhood Festival


Finalists: Arkansas Cornbread Festival, Main Street Food Truck Festival, Chili Fights in the Heights

Performing Arts Group

Ballet Arkansas

Finalists: Arkansas Circus Arts, Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre, Haunted Argenta Ghost Tours


Amber Lane

Finalists: Katie Childs, Ben Martin, Ashley Murphy

Place for Karaoke

Town Pump

Finalists: Dust Bowl Lanes, Zack’s Place, Khalil’s Pub

Place for Trivia

Flyway Brewing

Finalists: Flying Saucer, Stone’s Throw Brewing, American Pie Pizza

Place to Gamble

Saracen Casino Resort (Pine Bluff) 

Finalists: Oaklawn Racing & Gaming (Hot Springs), Choctaw Casino & Resort (Oklahoma), Isle of Capri (Mississippi) 


Kai Coggin

Finalists: Kara Bibb, Crystal C. Mercer, Rj Looney

Rock Band 

Adam Faucett & The Tall Grass

Finalists: Go For Gold, DeFrance, Terminal Nation

Sports Bar

Brewski’s Pub & Grub

Finalists: Dugan’s Pub, JJ’s Grill, Prospect Bar & Grill

Food and Drink

Arkansas-brewed Beer

Lost Forty Brewing

Finalists: Flyway Brewing, Diamond Bear Brewing Co., East Sixth Street Brewing Co. 

Baked Goods

Community Bakery

Finalists: Boulevard Bread Co., Mylo Coffee Co., Cinnamon Creme Bakery


Boulevard Bread Co. 

Finalists: Community Bakery, Old Mill Bread Bakery & Cafe, Dempsey’s Bakery


Oceans at Arthur’s

Finalists: Red Door, The Root Cafe, @ The Corner

Business Lunch

Samantha’s Tap Room & Wood Grill

Finalists: Capital Bar & Grill, Brave New Restaurant, Cache



Finalists: Low Ivy Catering, Heritage Catering, Catering To You 

Cheese Dip

La Hacienda

Finalists: Heights Taco & Tamale, Senor Tequila, Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro


Capital Bar & Grill

Finalists: Big Orange, Heights Taco & Tamale, The Fold

Food Festival

International Greek Food Festival

Finalists: Arkansas Cornbread Festival, Main Street Food Truck Festival, World Cheese Dip Championship

French Fries

Big Orange

Finalists: David’s Burgers, McDonald’s, Five Guys

Happy Hour

The Pantry

Finalists: Petit & Keet, Sauced, Big Orange

Liquor Store

Colonial WineS & Spirits

Finalists: Legacy Wine and Spirits, O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor, 107 Liquor


Big Orange

Finalists: Purple Cow, Loblolly Creamery, Shake’s Frozen Custard

Onion Rings

Hubcap Burger Co.

Finalists: Big Orange, Sonic, Buffalo Grill

Outdoor Dining

U.S. Pizza Co. 

Finalists: YaYa’s Euro Bistro, La Terraza, Brave New Restaurant


Whole Hog Cafe

Finalists: Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, Sims Bar-B-Que, Lost Forty Brewing


ZAZA Fine Salad + Wood Oven Pizza Co. 

Finalists: U.S. Pizza Co., Raduno, Big Orange



Finalists: Sky Modern Japanese Restaurant, Ocean’s at Arthur’s, Sushi Cafe

Brian Chilson


The Root Cafe

Finalists: Star of India, Ester’s, Newfangled Love Kitchen

Wine List

Crush Wine Bar

Finalists: Ciao Baci, Petit & Keet, The Pantry

Goods and services


Midtown Vintage Market

Finalists: Sweet Home Furnishings, South Main Creative, Fabulous Finds Antique & Decorative Mall

Apartment Complex

Fitzroy Chenal

Finalists: The Pointe at Brodie Creek, Bowman Pointe Apartments, Argenta Flats


Bang-Up Betty

Finalists: AR’T’s Arkansas T-Shirts, Bryant Phelan, Hannah Lawrence

Auto Dealer

Everett Buick GMC

Finalists: McLarty Automotive Group, Billy Wood Honda, Parker Automotive Group

Brian Chilson

Auto Service

Jett’s Gas & Service

Finalists: Foster’s Garage, Austin Brothers Tire & Service, Christian Brothers Automotive


Arvest Bank

Finalists: Simmons Bank, First Security Bank, Bank OZK

Barber Shop

Jerry’s Barber Shop in the Heights

Finalists: Dogtown Barber Lounge, Handle Barbershop, V’s Barbershop

Bicycle Shop

Angry Dave’s Bicycles

Finalists: Chainwheel, The Community Bicyclist, Arkansas Cycling & Fitness 


WordsWorth Books

Finalists: Dickson Street Bookshop (Fayetteville), Barnes & Noble, Bookish (Fort Smith) 


Infiniti QX50

Finalists: 1972 Chevelle SS, Subaru Outback, Honda Accord

Children’s Clothing

The Toggery

Finalists: haute pare (Helena-West Helena), Dillard’s, Caroline’s Children’s Consignment Boutique


John Vincent, Wellness Revolution

Finalists: Elite Chiropractic, Blackmon Chiropractic, Dr. Beverly Foster

Commercial Art Gallery

Boswell Mourot Fine Art Gallery

Finalists: M2 Gallery, The New Gallery, Gallery 26

Commercial Insurance Agency

Shelter Insurance

Finalists: State Farm, Farm Bureau, AAA

Commercial Real Estate Agency

Newmark Moses Tucker Partners

Finalists: McKimmey Associates, Keller Williams, Kelley Commercial

Company to Work for

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Finalists: Bank OZK, Southwest Power Pool, Legacy Termite & Pest Control

Cosmetic Dentist

DJ Dailey

Finalists: Jeff Garner, Richardson & Monroe, Little Rock Family Dental

Family Dentist

Arkansas Dental Centers

Finalists: Little Rock Family Dental, Hatley Family Dentistry, Jolly Family Dentistry


Jayme’s Interiors

Finalists: Garry Mertins, Larry West, Jill White Designs

Diet/Weight Loss Center

Arkansas Health & Nutrition

Finalists: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Weight Watchers, Roller Weight Loss & Advanced Surgery

Dry Cleaners

Schickel’s Cleaners

Finalists: Hangers, Moose Cleaners, Tide Cleaners


James Eyecare & Optics Gallery

Finalists: Success Vision, Kavanaugh Eye Care, Little Rock Eye Clinic

Farmers Market

Hillcrest Farmers Market

Finalists: Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market, Fayetteville Farmers Market (Fayetteville), River Market Farmers’ Market


Tipton & Hurst

Finalists: Petal to the Metal, Tanarah Luxe Floral, Frances Flower Shop

Funeral Home

North Little Rock Funeral Home

Finalists: Roller-Chenal Funeral Home, Ruebel Funeral Home, Smith Family Funeral Home


Ashley Furniture

Local winner: Ferguson’s Furniture

Finalists: Hank’s Fine Furniture, Cleo’s Furniture, Galaxy Furniture

Garden Store

The Good Earth Garden Center

Finalists: Hocott’s Garden Center, Plantopia, Cantrell Gardens

Brian Chilson

Gift Shop

Box Turtle

Finalists: Stifft Station Gifts, Moxy Mercantile, Bella Vita Jewelry

Grocery Store

Trader Joe’s

Local winner: Edwards Food Giant

Finalists: Kroger, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods

Hair Salon

Suite 102 Salon

Finalists: Fringe Benefits, Jerry’s Barber Shop in the Heights, Southern Blonde and Co.

Hardware/Home Improvement

Fuller & Son Hardware

Finalists: The Home Depot, Kraftco Hardware, Lowe’s

Brian Chilson

Hip Clothing


Finalists: Crying Weasel Vintage, Fringe, Scarlett

Hobby Shop

Argenta Bead Co.

Finalists: Art Outfitters, Michael’s, Rail & Sprue Hobbies (Jacksonville)

Home Entertainment


Finalist: Arkansas Record and CD Exchange

Home, Life, Car insurance Salespeople

Brian Cress, Shelter Insurance

Finalists: Bev Hargraves, Arkansas Insurance Partners; Bruce James, State Farm; Joe Justus Insurance Agency 


Baptist Hospital 

Finalists: Arkansas Children’s Hospital, CHI St. Vincent, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


Capital Hotel

Finalists: 21c Museum Hotel (Bentonville), The Baker (North Little Rock), The Waters (Hot Springs)

HVAC Repair

Middleton Heat and Air

Finalists: Advantage Service Co., Airmasters Heating and Air Conditioning, Bob and Ed’s Heating and Air Conditioning 

Internet Service Provider


Local winner: Conway Corp.

Finalists: Hyperleap, Suddenlink, Xfinity

Investment Adviser

Kelly R. Journey, Edward Jones

Finalists: Sarah Catherine Gutierrez (Aptus Financial), Heath Harper (Morgan Stanley), April Pollard, Edward Jones 


Sissy’s Log Cabin

Finalists: Bella Vita, Laura Stanley, Roberson’s Fine Jewelry

Landscaper/Landscape Design

Chris Olsen/Botanica Gardens

Finalists: The Good Earth, Hocott’s Garden Center, Schneider Lawn Care


Victoria Leigh, Lion Legal Services

Finalists: Erin Cassinelli (Lassiter and Cassinelli) David Slade (Carney Bates & Pulliam), Jenny Teeter (Gil Ragon Owen)

Lingerie Store


Finalists: Angie Davis Lingerie Store and Boudoir Studio (Conway), Seductions, Victoria’s Secret

Massage Therapist

Ava Bella Day Spa

Finalists: Arkansas Healing Arts Massage and Wellness, Cora Crain, RD Sports Massage

Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Little Rock House of Cannabis

Finalists: Green Springs Medical (Hot Springs), Harvest Cannabis (Conway), Native Green Wellness (Hensley)

Med Spa

Rejuvenation Clinic & Day Spa

Finalists: Flawless Med Spa (Bryant), Skin Fix Med Spa, Twilla MedSpa (Fort Smith)

Men’s Clothing

Baumans Fine Men’s Clothing

Finalists: Dillard’s, Domestic Domestic, Mr. Wick’s

Mental Health Facility

Methodist Family Health

Finalists: Alleviant Health Centers, Chenal Family Health, Riverstone Wellness

Mobile Phone Provider


Finalists: Cricket, AT&T, Sprint

Motorcycle Dealer

Richards Honda-Yamaha

Finalists: Pig Trail Harley Davidson (Rogers), Riggs Outdoor, Rock City Harley Davidson


Two Men and a Truck (North Little Rock)

Finalists: All That Matters Moving, College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving (North Little Rock), Brandon Moving & Storage (North Little Rock) 

Music Equipment

Renown Music

Finalists: Guitar Center, Quattlebaum Music (Searcy), Palmer Music Co. (Conway)

Nail Salon

Chic Nails and Spa

Finalists: Best Nails Salon and Spa, Ivy Nails and Spa (Bryant)

Outdoor Store

Ozark Outdoor Supply

Finalists: Academy Sports, Bass Pro Shops, Gene Lockwood’s

Pawn Shop

Braswell & Son Pawnbrokers

Finalists: A1 Gun and Pawn (Russellville), Big Bucks Pawn and Gun (El Dorado), Midland Pawn and Jewelry (Fort Smith) 

Pest Control and Termite Service

Curry’s Termite and Pest Control

Finalists: Adams Pest Control, Legacy Termite and Pest Control, Terminix


Rhea Drug Store

Cornerstone, Kavanaugh Pharmacy, The Pharmacy at Wellington

Physical Therapist

Advanced Physical Therapy

Finalists: McMaster Physical Therapy Clinic (Conway),  Ortho Arkansas, Arkansas Pelvic Health


Ray Lusk Plumbing

Finalists: Advantage Service Co. (North Little Rock), Associated Plumbers Inc., Mid-Town Mechanical Services

Private School

The Anthony School

Finalists: Episcopal Collegiate, Catholic High School for Boys, Pulaski Academy

Public School

Little Rock Central High School

Finalists: Forest Heights STEM Academy, Parkview Magnet High School, Pulaski Heights Elementary

Residential Real Estate Agency


Finalists: The Charlotte John Co., The Janet Jones Co., River Rock Realty

Retirement Community

Good Shepherd

Finalists: Brookdale Senior Living (Conway), Parkway Village, Woodland Heights

RV/Camper Dealer

Moix RV Supercenter (Conway)

Finalists: Camping World, Kiko’s Kountry RV (Sherwood), Wheels Motor and RV Dealership (Springdale)



Finalists: Dillard’s, Fleet Feet, Warren’s Shoes


Ava Bella Day Spa

Finalists: Caracalla, Copper Well Retreat, Rejuvenation Clinic

Sporting Goods

Academy Sports + OUTDOORS

Local winner: Gene Lockwood’s

Finalists: Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ozark Outdoor Supply


7th Street Tattoo and Body Piercing

Finalists: Black Cobra, Love Spell, Lucky Bella Tattoos (Maumelle)


The Toggery

Finalists: Box Turtle, Knowledge Tree, Walmart

Travel Agency

Sue’s Travel

Finalists: Poe Travel, The Travel Shop, West Rock Travel

Vape Shop

Vapor World

Finalists: Bad Boyz Vaporz (Cabot), Mr. Smoke, Vape Stop


Hillcrest Animal Hospital

Finalists: Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic, Shackleford Road Veterinary Clinic, Town and Country Animal Hospital

Vintage Clothing

Crying Weasel Vintage

Finalists: Cheap Thrills (Fayetteville), South Main Creative, Thrift*pologie

Women’s Clothing

Beyond Cotton

Finalists: Dillard’s, E. Leigh’s, Tulips

Yoga Studio

Blue Yoga Nyla

Finalists: Arkansas Yoga Collective, Barefoot Studio, Floating Lotus

Local Media


Arkansas Blog

Finalists: Mighty Rib, MySaline.com, Rock City Eats

TV Meteorologist

Barry Brandt (KATV, Channel 7)

Finalists: Ed Buckner (KTHV, Channel 11), Melinda Mayo (KATV, Channel 7), Todd Yakoubian (KATV, Channel 7)

Newspaper Writer

Max Brantley

Finalists: John Brummett, Ernest Dumas, Stephanie Smittle

Radio Personality

Tommy Smith (KABZ-FM, 103.7 “The Buzz”)

Finalists: Bob Robbins (KMJX-FM, 105.1 “The Wolf”), Heather and Poolboy (KLAL-FM, 107.7 “Alice”), Tre’ Day (KIPR-FM,92.3 “Power 92”)

Radio Station

KABZ-FM, 103.7 “The Buzz”

Finalists: KLAL-FM, 107.7 “Alice”; KUAR-FM, 89.1; KKPT-FM, 94.1 “The Point”

TV Personality

Chris May (KATV, CHANNEL 7)

Finalists: Alyson Courtney (KATV, Channel 7), Craig O’Neill (KTHV, Channel 11), Alexis Wainwright (KARK, Channel 4)

TV Sportscaster

Steve Sullivan (KATV, CHANNEL 7)

Finalists: Hayden Balgavy (KTHV, Channel 11), Kyle Deckelbaum (KATV, Channel 4), Wes Moore (KLRT, Channel 16)

TV Station


Finalists: KLRT, KARK, KTHV



Finalists: bemightylittlerock.com, mysaline.com, rockcityeats.com

People and Politics


Rakeem Boyd

Finalists: Hunter Henry, Mason Jones, Scottie Pippen

Best Arkansan

Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock)

Finalists: KTHV, Channel 11, anchor Craig O’Neill, Governor Hutchinson, Department of Health Director Dr. Nate Smith

Best Little Rock City Director

Kathy Webb

Finalist: Capi Peck

Best Little Rocker

Rick Fleetwood

Finalist: David Bazzel, Ali Noland, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. 





David Bazzel

Finalists: Craig O’Neill, Mary Steenburgen, Thug Nasty


Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance

Finalists: Arkansas Foodbank, Our House, The Van

Charity Event

Dinner on the Grounds (Our House)

Finalists: Eggshibition (Youth Home), Race for the Cure (Susan G. Komen), Soup Sunday (Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families)


Governor Hutchinson

Finalists: Rep. Nate Bell (R-Mena), former Rep. Davy Carter, Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado)


Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock)

Finalists: Sen. Will Bond (D-Little Rock), former Rep. Clarke Tucker, City Director Kathy Webb

Misuse of Taxpayer Funds/Property

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s commercials

Finalists: I-30 expansion, Ten Commandments monument  


Rick Fleetwood

Finalists: John Burkhalter, Alice Walton, Windgate Foundation

Brian Chilson


Joyce Elliott

Finalists: Governor Hutchinson, Mayor Frank Scott Jr., Clarke Tucker

Worst Arkansan

U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton

Finalists: Sen. Jason Rapert, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Sarah Huckabee Sanders


Cheap date

Dave and Buster’s

Finalists: Big Dam Bridge, Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Two Rivers Park

Golf Course

Rebsamen Golf Course

Finalists: Burns Park, Chenal Country Club, Pleasant Valley Country Club

Gym/Place to Work Out

Little Rock Athletic Club

Finalists: ClubHaus Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, Planet Fitness

Hiking Trail

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Finalists: Allsopp Park, Petit Jean Mountain State Park, Rattlesnake Ridge


Mountain Harbor Resort (Mt. Ida)

Finalists: Eden Isle Marina (Heber Springs), Brady Mountain Resort & Marina (Royal), Lake Dardanelle State Park and Marina (Dardanelle)


Two Rivers Park

Finalists: Burns Park (North Little Rock), Boyle Park, Allsopp Park

Place to Canoe/Kayak/Tube

Buffalo River National Park (North Arkansas)

Finalists: Spring River (North Central Arkansas), Two Rivers Park, Mulberry River

Place to Mountain Bike

Northwoods Trails (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Burns Park, Rattlesnake Ridge (Roland), Allsopp Park 

Place to Swim

Lake Ouachita

Finalists: Little Rock Racquet Club, Wild River Country (North Little Rock), Greers Ferry Lake (Heber Springs)

Novo Studio


Mount Magazine (Logan County)

Finalists: Buffalo Outdoor Center (Ponca), Gaston’s White River Resort (Lakeview), Red Apple Inn & Country Club (Heber Springs)

Weekend Getaway

Hot Springs

Finalists: Eureka Springs, Mount Magazine, Buffalo National River