2022 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalists announced

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The Department of Arkansas Heritage has announced the finalists for the 2022 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

The program, now in its sixth year, recognizes Arkansas restaurants, proprietors, food-themed events, and influential Arkansas restaurants that have since ceased operations.

Public nominations are accepted each fall, while finalists and winners in the four main categories are decided by a panel of judges.

More than 2,000 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties, according to Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“Food is a popular topic that elicits strong opinions,” said Hurst. “We have a noteworthy food heritage and culture in Arkansas and we are pleased to recognize these standouts through our highly regarded Food Hall of Fame program.”

This year’s judging panel includes Hurst, Paul S. Austin, Jimmy Bryant, Chip Culpepper, Quantia “Key” Fletcher, Cindy Grisham, Montine McNulty, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson, Stephanie Wade, David Ware and Stanley Young.

Fayetteville’s Herman’s Ribhouse made the list of finalists for the second year in a row.

The only other nearby Hall of Fame finalist is Neal’s Café of Springdale. Rob Nelson of Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville is a finalist in the Proprietor of the Year category, and James at the Mill (Johnson) is a finalist in the Gone But Not Forgotten category.

Last year’s winners include Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville, Monte Ne Inn of Rogers, Star of India of Little Rock, Matt McClure of The Hive in Bentonville (Proprietor of the Year), Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival of Warren (Food-Themed Event), Bistro Bar & Grill of Helena-West Helena (People’s Choice) and Roy Fisher’s Steak House (Gone But Not Forgotten).

The 2022 winners will be announced on Monday, Feb. 7 at a hybrid ceremony at Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The public is invited to attend virtually or in person. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.

2022 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Finalists (by category)

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
Colonial Steak House – Pine Bluff
Dairy King – Portia
Dixie Pig – Blytheville
Herman’s Ribhouse – Fayetteville
K Hall & Sons Produce – Little Rock
Kream Kastle – Blytheville
Neal’s Café – Springdale
Ohio Club – Hot Springs
The Faded Rose – Little Rock
Bulldog Restaurant – Bald Knob
Lindsey’s Bar-B-Q & Hospitality House – North Little Rock
Bailey’s Dairy Treat – Hot Springs
Stoby’s Restaurant – Conway
Bruno’s Little Italy – Little Rock
Daisy Queen – Marshall

Proprietor of the Year
Jim Keet, JTJ Restaurants – Little Rock
Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club – Pine Bluff
Rob Nelson, Tusk and Trotter – Bentonville
Capi Peck, Trio’s Restaurant – Little Rock
David Stobaugh, Stoby’s Restaurant – Conway
James Woods, Woods Place – Camden

Food-Themed Events
Mt. Nebo Chicken Fry – Dardanelle
Magnolia Blossom Festival & World Championship Steak Cook-Off – Magnolia
World Championship Duck Gumbo Cookoff – Stuttgart

Gone But Not Forgotten
Coy’s Steak House – Garland County
Cajun’s Wharf – Pulaski County
Mrs. Miller’s Chicken & Steak House – Garland County
The Villa Italian Restaurant – Pulaski County
James at the Mill – Washington County