Two longtime Fayetteville restaurants in running for state’s Food Hall of Fame

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalist announcement (Photo by Will Newton/ADPHT)

Two longtime Fayetteville restaurants were names as finalists for the 2024 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, the Department of Arkansas Heritage announced on Monday.

Hugo’s and Herman’s Ribhouse are both in the running for the overall Hall of Fame category, along with 12 other restaurants across the state. Hugo’s, located in the basement at 25 1/2 N. Block Ave. near the downtown square, has been in business since 1977. Herman’s Ribhouse opened at 2901 N. College Ave. on New Year’s Day in 1964.

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

Public nominations are accepted each year, while finalists and winners in four categories are decided by a panel of judges. A people’s choice award is also given each year.

It’s the second time Hugo’s has been announced as a Hall of Fame finalist, and the third time for Herman’s Ribhouse.

Last year’s Hall of Fame winners were Ozark Cafe of Jasper, Bulldog Restaurant of Bald Knob and Kream Kastle of Blytheville.

Other 2023 category winners were Jamie McAfee of the Pine Bluff Country Club (Proprietor of the Year), Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Coof-Off (Food-Themed Events), Bohemia Restaurant of Garland County (Gone But Not Forgotten) and Community Bakery in Little Rock (People’s Choice).

The selection committee includes Marty Ryall, Paul S. Austin, C.C. Culpepper, Quantia Fletcher, Cindy Grisham, Montine McNulty, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson, Stephanie Wade, David Ware and Stanley Young. The committee this year added Chef Jennifer Maune as its newest member. Maune was a finalist in the 13th season of “MasterChef.”

Winners will be announced and inducted at a ceremony in September.

2024 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Finalists (by category)

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
Big Banjo Pizza Parlor – Pine Bluff
The Faded Rose – Little Rock
Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets – Keo
Herman’s Ribhouse – Fayetteville
Doe’s Eat Place – Little Rock
Daisy Queen – Marshall
The Dixie Pig – Blytheville
Ray’s – Monticello
Old South Restaurant – Russellville
Dairyette – Mount Ida
Hugo’s – Fayetteville
Taliano’s Italian Restaurant – Fort Smith
Brave New Restaurant – Little Rock
K Hall & Sons – Little Rock

Proprietor of the Year
Crissy’s Pub Style – Benton
Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie – Bentonville
Loca Luna and Red Door – Little Rock
Woods Place – Camden
Doe’s Eat Place – Little Rock

Food-Themed Events
Arkansas Pie Festival – Cherokee Village
Mayhaw Festival – El Dorado
Mt. Nebo Chicken Fry – Dardanelle
Slovak Oyster Supper – Slovak
Soup Sunday – North Little Rock

Gone But Not Forgotten
Anderson’s – Beebe
Juanita’s – Little Rock
Polar Freeze – Walnut Ridge

People’s Choice
Top Dog Catering – Cabot
Bennett’s Seafood – Hot Springs Village
Purple Banana – Bentonville
BubbaLu’s – Hot Springs
Beech Street Bistro – Crossett

Note: The public can vote for their favorite of the five People’s Choice establishments online through the next six weeks