Our Lady of the Lake Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner in Chicot County and the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival are two of the finalists for the 2020 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in the food-themed event category, according to an Arkansas Department of Heritage news release.

Finalists in the food-themed events category are the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Our Lady of the Lake Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner in Chicot County, the International Greek Food Festival in Pulaski County, and the Tontitown Grape Festival in Washington County.

The food-themed event is one of five categories in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The categories are Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, Gone But Not Forgotten, and the People’s Choice.

Winners will be announced at a reception and induction ceremony on Monday, February 24, at the Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock. The business casual reception will start at 5 p.m., followed by the induction ceremony at 6:15 p.m. The 2020 Arkansas Food of the Year was also announced as rice.

More than 1,450 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties for the 2020 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The number of submissions more than doubled from last year. Nominations were accepted from the public during the month of October.

The finalists in each of the five categories are:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
AQ Chicken House of Springdale (Washington County)
Bruno’s Little Italy of Little Rock (Pulaski County)
Cattleman’s Steak House of Texarkana (Miller County)
Ed Walker’s Drive-In & Restaurant of Fort Smith (Sebastian County)
Feltner’s Whatta-Burger of Russellville (Pope County)
Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)
Murry’s Restaurant of Hazen (Prairie County)
Neal’s Café of Springdale (Washington 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)
Matt McClure of Bentonville (Benton 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
Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival (Bradley County)
International Greek Food Festival (Pulaski County)
Our Lady of the Lake Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner (Chicot County)
Tontitown Grape Festival (Washington County)

 

Gone But Not Forgotten
Habib’s Café (Phillips County)
Mary Maestri’s (Washington County)
Shadden’s BBQ (Phillips 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 at the induction ceremony.

“We are overwhelmed with how the interest in Arkansas food continues to grow across our state,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are so pleased to be leading this discussion about food as a special part of Arkansas’s heritage and culture.”

The public is invited to attend the reception and induction ceremony. Tickets are available for purchase, but space is limited. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at ArkFoodHOF.com, or by emailing Andrew Vogler at [email protected] or calling 501-324-9346. Tickets must be reserved no later than February 19, 2020. Payment will also be accepted by cash or check at the February 24 event. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit ArkFoodHOF.com.

The selection committee includes Paul S. Austin, Swannee Bennett, Evette Brady, Julienne Crawford, C.C. (Chip) Culpepper, Cindy Grisham, Stacy Hurst, Montine McNulty, Tim Morton, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson and Christina Shutt.

The Department of Arkansas Heritage in 2016 launched the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame program to recognize Arkansas’ legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.

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