The Department of Arkansas Heritage announced finalists for the 2019 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The program started in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’ food-themed events and legendary restaurants, according to a press release.

During October, public nominations were accepted for the categories Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, People’s Choice, and Gone But Not Forgotten.Winners will be announced on Feb. 25 at a business casual reception and induction ceremony at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The reception will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by the ceremony at 6:15 p.m.

Finalists include:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

AQ Chicken House of Springdale (Washington County)

4-Dice Restaurant of Fordyce (Dallas County)

Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Burge’s Restaurant of Little Rock and Lewisville (Pulaski County and Lafayette County)

The Craig Brothers Cafe DeValls Bluff (Prairie County)

Doe’s Eat Place of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Keeney’s Food Market of Malvern (Hot Spring County)

Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)

The Ohio Club of Hot Springs (Garland County)

Star of India of Little Rock (Pulaski County)


Proprietor of the Year

Capi Peck of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Loretta Tacker of Marion (Crittenden County)

Peter Brave of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Sami Lal of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Scott McGehee of Little Rock (Pulaski County)     


Food-Themed Events

Hope Watermelon Festival (Hempstead County)

International Greek Food Festival (Pulaski County)

Our Lady of the Lake Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner (Chicot County)

Tontitown Grape Festival (Washington County)

World Championship Duck Gumbo Cookoff (Arkansas County)


Gone But Not Forgotten

Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce (Dallas County)

Mary Maestri’s Italiano Grillroom of Springdale (Washington County)

La Scala Italian Restaurant of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Uncle John’s of Crawfordsville (Crittenden County)

The Shack Barbecue of Little Rock (Pulaski County)


The People’s Choice Award was chosen from the number of nominations for a particular restaurant, so there will not be any finalists and the winner will be announced at the induction ceremony.

A total of 650 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties for the 2019 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. “This is the first year we’ve heard from every county across the state,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. “We are so pleased to be leading this conversation about food as a special part of Arkansas’s heritage and culture. We look forward to celebrating the flavors of Arkansas for many years to come.”

The 13-member selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Swannee Bennett, Evette Brady, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Dr. Wendy Richter, Kat Robinson and Christina Shutt, according to a press release.

Tickets are available for purchase, but space is limited. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at, or by emailing Andrew Vogler at or calling 501-324-9346. Tickets must be reserved no later than February 8, 2019. Payment will also be accepted by cash or check at the event. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit

About the Department of Arkansas Heritage

The mission of the Department of Arkansas Heritage is to identify Arkansas’s heritage and enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors by the discovery, preservation and presentation of the state’s natural, cultural and historic resources. This is accomplished through the work of its eight divisions: Arkansas Arts Council, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and Old State House Museum.