The Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner in Chicot County and the World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-Off in Arkansas County are among the finalists in the 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in the food-themed event category.
The food-themed event award, one of five categories in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, honors a community food-themed event or festival that makes Arkansas a great place to live and visit.
The six finalists in the food-themed events category are the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church’s Annual Spaghetti Dinner in Chicot County, the World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-Off in Arkansas County, the Magnolia Blossom Festival & World Championship Steak Cook-Off in Columbia County, the Arkansas Cornbread Festival in Pulaski County, and the Tontitown Grape Festival in Washington County.
The other four categories are the 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Gone But Not Forgotten, and the People’s Choice.
Finalists in the other categories:
Arkansas Food Hall of Fame – This award recognizes those long-standing restaurants that have become legendary attractions in Arkansas. The finalists for the 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame are: AQ Chicken House in Springdale, Colonial Steak House in Pine Bluff, Dairy King in Portia, Dixie Pig in Blytheville, Feltner’s Whatta-Burger in Russellville, Herman’s Ribhouse in Fayetteville, K Hall & Sons Produce in Little Rock, Kream Kastle in Blytheville, Monte Ne Inn in Rogers, Neal’s Cafe in Springdale, The Ohio Club in Hot Springs, Star of India in Little Rock and Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock.
Proprietor of the Year – This award honors a chef, cook and/or restaurant owner in Arkansas who has made significant achievements in the food industry. Finalists in the Proprietor of the Year category are: Sami Lal (Star of India) of Little Rock, Jamie McAfee (Pine Bluff Country Club), Matt McClure (The Hive) of Bentonville, Capi Peck (Trio’s Restaurant) of Little Rock and Anthony Valinoti (DeLuca’s Pizzeria Napoletana), Hot Springs.
Gone But Not Forgotten – Remembers the collective culinary legacy of a once-and-always influential Arkansas restaurant that has since ceased operations. Finalists are Browning’s Mexican Grill (Little Rock), Dairy Hollow House (Eureka Springs), Habib’s Cafe and Delicatessen (Helena/West Helena), Roy Fisher’s Steak House (North Little Rock) and Uncle John’s (Crawfordsville, Crittenden County).
The People’s Choice Award identifies the public’s favorite. This award is in the hands of Arkansans. There are no finalists, the restaurant or food truck that receives the highest number of votes wins.
The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Monday, February 22, at 6 p.m.
More than 2,000 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties for the 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. Nominations were accepted from the public during the month of October. The selection committee includes 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 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. For more information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, visit ArkFoodHOF.com.