The finalists have been announced for the 2021 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. Recognizing Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.

More than 2,000 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties for the fifth class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. This was a nearly 40% increase year-over-year according to a press release.

There are five categories for the nominations:

• Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
• Proprietor of the Year
• Food-Themed Event
• People’s Choice
• Gone But Not Forgotten

Winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on February 22, 2021.

Unfortunately, not a single finalist is from the Texarkana area. Two years ago Cattlman's won the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame and Hope Watermelon Festival won Food-Themed Event last year. On the bright side, there are some great finalists in Hot Springs and Little Rock to check out!

And here are all the finalists.

Finalists include: Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

• AQ Chicken House of Springdale (Washington County)
• Colonial Steak House of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)
• Dairy King of Portia (Lawrence County)
• Dixie Pig of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
• Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville (Pope County)
• Herman’s Ribhouse of Fayetteville (Washington County)
• K Hall & Sons Produce of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
• Monte Ne Inn of Rogers (Benton County)
• Neal’s Café of Springdale (Washington County)
• The Ohio Club of Hot Springs (Garland County)
• Star of India of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Trio’s Restaurant of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

Proprietor of the Year

• Sami Lal of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Jamie McAfee of Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)
• Matt McClure of Bentonville (Benton County)
• Capi Peck of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
• Anthony Valinoti of Hot Springs (Garland County)

Food-Themed Events

• Arkansas Cornbread Festival (Pulaski County)
• Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival (Bradley County)
• Magnolia Blossom Festival & World Championship Steak Cook-Off (Columbia County) • Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church Annual Spaghetti Dinner (Chicot County)
• Tontitown Grape Festival (Washington County)
• World Championship Duck Gumbo Cookoff (Arkansas County) Gone But Not Forgotten
• Browning's Mexican Grill (Pulaski County)
• Dairy Hollow House (Carroll County)
• Habib's Café and Delicatessen (Phillips County)
• Roy Fisher's Steak House (Pulaski County)
• Uncle John’s (Crittenden County)

The People’s Choice Award has been chosen solely based on the number of nominations for a particular restaurant, so there are no finalists and the winner will be announced during the induction ceremony.

“There were many unknowns for each Arkansan in 2020. Celebrating food people and places is more important than ever,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are so pleased to honor these special entities as a special part of Arkansas’s heritage and culture.”

The public is invited to attend the reception and induction ceremony virtually on February 22, 2021 in the evening.

Learn more by visiting the Arkansas Heritage Facebook page: https://fb.me/e/3d4QCo3rE. Questions can be directed to Andrew Vogler at andrew.vogler@arkansas.gov or calling 501-324-9346. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit ArkFoodHOF.com. The finalists were chosen by a special committee of Arkansans including historians, chefs, foodies and food authors, including Paul S. Austin, Jimmy Bryant, Chip Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson, Christina Shutt, Donna Uptigrove, David Ware and Stanley Young.

The Division of Arkansas Heritage launched the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame program in 2016.

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