The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame 2023 inductees were announced at a hybrid ceremony on March 6, 2023, at Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater at 100 River Market Ave. in downtown Little Rock. Earlier that day, in conjunction with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, an Arkansas-Food-Hall-of-Fame-themed mural was dedicated at the Ben E. Keith Main Street Pocket Park at 711 Main Street, also in downtown Little Rock.

 

“Our 2023 inductees represent some of the best food in Arkansas,” said Mike Mills, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Food tells the story of Arkansas’s culinary heritage and it’s an honor to celebrate the people, places and events that serve this story to Arkansas residents and visitors alike.”

 

Arkansas Heritage launched the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame program in 2016 to celebrate the state’s unique food traditions, and to educate Arkansans about our diverse food culture and heritage. The program recognizes Arkansas’s legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state. The downtown Little Rock mural illustrates this commitment to food and foodies in Arkansas and it portrays seven individual vignettes highlighting unique aspects of the state’s food culture.

 

“This mural combines two of Arkansas’s favorite things: art and food,” said Gabe Holmstrom, executive director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. “Public art brings energy to an area and we are proud to utilize our public art grant program to support the creation of this piece. We invite all visitors and locals to come downtown to enjoy this mural.”

 

Nominations for the seventh class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame were submitted from all 75 Arkansas counties for the program’s five categories. Finalists were announced in January from more than 1,800 nominations.

 

Winners include:

 

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

●  Bulldog Restaurant of Bald Knob (White County)

●  Kream Kastle of Blytheville (Mississippi County)

●  Ozark Cafe of Jasper (Newton County)

 

Proprietor of the Year

● Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club (Jefferson County)

 

Food-Themed Events

● Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cook-Off (Columbia County)

 

Gone But Not Forgotten

● Bohemia Restaurant, formerly of Hot Springs (Garland County)

 

People’s Choice

● Community Bakery of Little Rock (Pulaski County)

 

All nominees are listed at ArkFoodHOF.com.

 

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee is a group of Arkansans who are historians, chefs, foodies and food authors. Committee members include Paul S. Austin, Jimmy Bryant, Chip Culpepper, Quantia “Key” Fletcher, Cindy Grisham, Montine McNulty, Rex Nelson, Tim Nutt, Kat Robinson, Stephanie Wade, David Ware and Stanley Young, in addition to Mills.

 

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