Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was established by the Department of Arkansas Heritage (DAH) in 2017, with the first honorees inducted in an event held that winter. The goal of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame is to honor the food traditions and the Arkansans involved in the local culinary arts that represent the culture of Arkansas.

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame divides the awards into five categories: Arkansas Food Hall of Fame (for restaurants), Food-Themed Event, Proprietor of the Year, People’s Choice, and Gone but Not Forgotten.

Every year, a nomination period is open to the public to choose restaurants for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee selects the blue-ribbon panel of judges who make the final selection for this category. To qualify in this category, the restaurant must be owned and operated in Arkansas for at least twenty-five years. Each year, three honorees are inducted.

The Food-Themed Event category winner is chosen by a panel selected by the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee. To be eligible for this category, the event must be held annually in Arkansas, and it must have been in existence for five years or more.

The Proprietor of the Year category winner is chosen by a panel selected by the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee. This category is meant to honor a chef, cook, and/or restaurant owner in Arkansas with significant achievements in the food industry. To be eligible for this award, the candidate’s restaurant must be owned in Arkansas and have been in operation for at least one year.

The People’s Choice is based upon online popular vote and can include restaurants and food trucks. These must be Arkansas-owned and operated and in business at least one year. Gone but Not Forgotten honors the collective culinary legacy of an influential Arkansas restaurant that has closed. This category recognizes the lasting influence of certain institutions.

The annual awards ceremony is held annually in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater in downtown Little Rock (Pulaski County). Winners receive a personalized plate.

For additional information:
Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, Department of Arkansas Heritage. http://www.arkansasheritage.com/Food-Hall-of-Fame/Main (accessed October 2, 2019).

Jenkins, Cary. “Five-Star Food.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 18, 1918, p. 2D.

Katelynn Caple
Henderson State University

Last Updated: 10/02/2019

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