On March 6, Arkansas Heritage will announce the latest inductees into the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. The program was launched in 2016 to recognize legendary restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events across the state.

 

These kings and queens of the state’s culinary scene may be new to the Hall, but not to our hearts — nor our taste buds. Each entry represents so much of what makes the fabric of Arkansas’ food landscape special, and they have been for a long, long time.

 

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame categories are:

  Gone But Not Forgotten

  Food-Themed Event

  Proprietor of the Year

  People’s Choice

  Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

 

“It’s special to see Arkansans from across the state come together to celebrate food, an important part of our state’s heritage and culture,” says Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are honored to recognize such incredible proprietors, restaurants and food-themed events that mean so much to our state and its residents.”

 

Winners will be selected from a group of finalists announced in January, which were derived from nominations that flooded in from all 75 counties. This year’s inductees were chosen by a committee of Arkansans who are historians, chefs, foodies and food authors. The People’s Choice category is the only exception, as it is decided by votes from the community.

 

“Celebrating Arkansas food is a great way for all of us to enjoy our state’s heritage and share it with others, especially during uncertain times,” Hurst says. “We are thankful for each person across the state for getting involved.”

 

 

Gone But Not Forgotten

“This award remembers the collective culinary legacy of a once-and-always influential
Arkansas restaurant that has since ceased operations.”

 

4-Dice Restaurant Fordyce (1967-2021)

The 4-Dice Restaurant, located in Fordyce, Arkansas, was a popular eatery that operated for over five decades. The restaurant was notable for its high-profile location on U.S. 167 and its connection to the Rolling Stones. Despite its closure, the 4-Dice remains a memorable part of Arkansas’s food and cultural history.

 

Bohemia Restaurant Hot Springs (1962-2007)

Bohemia Restaurant, established in 1962 in Hot Springs, served authentic German and Czech cuisine in an elegant atmosphere until 2007. Adolf and Christe Thum owned the place since 1975. The restaurant was known for its hearty specialties and won multiple awards in the 1990s. 

 

Chip’s Barbeque Little Rock (1961-2016)

Chip’s Barbecue was a family-owned and -operated barbeque staple in Little Rock famous for its hickory-smoked meats and homemade sauces, soups, chili and desserts. Established in 1961, Chip’s was known for its quality food and friendly service. The restaurant’s unique barbecue sauce was bottled and shipped nationwide to former patrons. 

 

Sir Loin’s Inn North Little Rock (1971-2007)

Sir Loin’s Inn was a popular steakhouse in North Little Rock that opened in 1971 and closed in 2007. The steakhouse was known for its salad bar, warm bread and hearty cuts of steak. Aaron Ross, owner of Sir Loin’s, once said, “All I know is how to make people comfortable and happy, serving good food and providing good service.”

 

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.”

 

Chuck Taylor

Taylor’s Steakhouse – Dumas

Located just outside of Dumas, the restaurant has a storied history with roots that reach across the Mississippi River. Today, the restaurant’s aged steaks, including Kansas bone-in ribeyes and T-bones, have gained notoriety for their flavor and size. People come from all over the region to enjoy the food and hospitality. 

 

David Stobaugh

Stoby’s Restaurant – Conway

As a kitchen steward at his fraternity at the University of Arkansas, Morrilton native David Stobaugh picked up the nickname, “Stoby.” It obviously stuck. David eventually opened his own place, Stoby’s in Conway, and quickly earned a reputation for amazing cheese dip that became so popular that it stocked grocery store shelves by the late 1990s.

 

Jamie McAfee

Pine Bluff Country Club – Pine Bluff

Jamie grew up in McGehee where his father was manager of the Delta Country Club and his mom managed a local hotel. His own long career in the country club business proved indispensable as he led the Pine Bluff Country Club through the pandemic to continued success in the Delta.

 

Chester and Laura Huntsman

Beech Street Bistro – Crossett

Chester and Laura Huntsman opened the Beech Street Bistro in Crossett in 2018 after renovating a 100-year-old home given to them by Laura’s father. The Bistro serves Creole specialties and unique desserts like Zydeco Cheesecake and beignets. The restaurant prides itself on its warm and inviting atmosphere with local artwork and outstanding flavors. 

 

James Woods

Woods Place – Camden

In 1984, James Woods came to Camden to take over the management of a local chain restaurant. It was the job offer that lured him, but it was Camden that hooked him. He later bought a shuttered catfish restaurant, naming it Woods Place. Fresh, farm-raised catfish and true “made-from-scratch” cooking are the staples of this local favorite. 

 

Jim Keet

JTJ Restaurants – Little Rock

A native of Springfield, Missouri, Jim is a proven and savvy businessman who came to Little Rock in 1975 and immediately began to impact the food landscape as an entrepreneur with Wendy’s fast-food franchise operations. An operator of some 50 years with 155 restaurants to his credit, Jim is one of the most successful restaurateurs in Arkansas. 

 

Food-Themed Event

“This award honors a community food-themed event or festival

that makes our state a great place to live and visit.”

 

food hall of fame

Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cook-Off

Magnolia

What started as a Sidewalk Art Show in 1950, the Magnolia Blossom Festival has become a delectable destination since its reimagination in 1989. With thousands in prize money on the line, grill masters from across the country come to compete with astonishing “grill rigs” to create the best steaks ever.

 

Slovak Oyster Supper

Slovak

Dating back to at least 1947, the Slovak Oyster Supper is an annual event held in the parish hall of the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Slovak. Organized by the Knights of Columbus as a fundraiser for local charities, attendees are served heaps of fried oysters, fries and a side of raw oysters.

 

Mayhaw Festival

El Dorado

The Annual Mayhaw Festival in El Dorado is a celebration of the mayhaw berry: a juicy, tart berry native to southern Arkansas. The festival features live music, food and craft vendors, children’s activities, a car and bike show and delicious homemade mayhaw jelly. Hosted by the South Arkansas Historical Preservation Society, it’s been running since 1992.

 

Food Hall of Fame

“This award recognizes those long-standing restaurants that have
become legendary attractions in Arkansas.”

 

food hall of fame

Betty’s Old Fashion 

El Dorado

Betty’s Old Fashion, established in 1934, is the oldest original restaurant in El Dorado. The namesake of its second owner, Betty Shaub, the dairy bar and hamburger joint is now owned by her niece, Susie Blanchard. The establishment is famous for its quality food with friendly service. Betty’s Old Fashion has become an iconic part of the local community. 

 

food hall of fame

Big Banjo Pizza

Pine Bluff

Big Banjo Pizza is a family-owned and -operated restaurant established in 1974 in Pine Bluff. Known for its award-winning pizza, it offers all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner buffets and favorites like its famous taco pizza. Brothers Dickie and Russell Ratliff started the business and passed down its legacy through the years, maintaining high standards of food and philanthropy. 

 

Black Angus

Little Rock

Black Angus Cafe, founded in 1962 by Oliver Harper in Little Rock, serves up juicy, chargrilled burgers and hand-cut steaks grilled to perfection. Black Angus went dark in 1985 after Harper’s retirement but was resurrected by long-time employee Bill Stovall in 1989. Today, owned by Karla Creasey, the self-serve establishment still offers fresh, homemade food at low prices.

 

hall of fame

Bulldog Restaurant

Bald Knob

Three-h¬¬undred-and-sixty-three days a year, you can get fed at Bald Knob’s Bulldog Restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy burgers and an assortment of sandwiches, catfish plates and taco salads. It’s most famous for the seasonal strawberry shortcake, which is made with local berries and has gained regional attention. 

 

Daisy Queen

Marshall

Since 1966, the Daisy Queen has been serving up hand-pattied, Angus-beef burgers and specializing in hand-blended shakes. A remodeled old-fashioned dairy bar, the Daisy Queen of Marshall harkens to a simpler time spent eating great food and talking with friends. Its classic menu also features a variety of sandwiches, hot dogs, stuffed jalapenos, fried pickles, and more. 

 

DeVito’s Restaurant

Harrison

Devito’s is a family-owned restaurant in Harrison, Arkansas. Started in 1986 by Jim DeVito, a fourth-generation Italian cook, and his sons, the restaurant is known for its award-winning cuisine, which includes a variety of Italian dishes made from scratch. The DeVito brothers operate the restaurant today, ensuring that each dining experience is of the highest quality.

 

food hall of fame

Hugo’s

Fayetteville

Hugo’s is a beloved Fayetteville institution that has been serving the community since Lamar Anderson founded the restaurant in 1977. The restaurant offers an eclectic atmosphere and diverse menu of burgers and a varied array of appetizers, entrees and desserts, including well-known homemade fries, beer cheese soup and grasshopper crepes.

 

Kream Kastle

Blytheville

Back in 1952, the Kream Kastle was a simple hot dog stand run by Steven Johns, a first-generation American. He later added a charcoal pit, and the beloved “Kastleburger” was born. His family now runs the place, serving as a central meeting spot in the Blytheville community. 

 

Meacham’s Family Restaurant

Ash Flat

At Meacham’s Family Restaurant in Ash Flat, breakfast is served any time of day. Troy Meacham bought the restaurant in 1979 after decades of experience in food service. Meacham’s is now operated by his daughters who are committed to preserving its legacy. Their famous biscuits are a must-try among a variety of offerings on the menu.

 

Ozark Cafe

Jasper

The Ozark Cafe in Jasper is one of the oldest restaurants in the state, with a rich history dating back to 1909. The cafe is known for its warm, welcoming atmosphere and its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients. The Ozark Cafe is the perfect place for a hearty breakfast, a delicious lunch, or a cozy dinner. 

 

Skyline Cafe

Mena

The Skyline Cafe in Mena has been serving patrons for 100 years. It offers homey and hearty breakfast and lunch fare, such as omelets, steak and eggs, ham, bacon, pancakes, corned beef hash, plate lunches and more. The cafe is a hub for regulars to meet and catch up while enjoying good food. 

 

The Ohio Club

Hot Springs

The legendary Ohio Club was founded in 1905 by John “Coffee” Williams and his nephew Sam Watt as a bar and casino. Well-known mobsters were once regulars at this Hot Springs watering hole, as were ballplayers like Babe Ruth. These days, the terrific food keeps guests coming back. 

 

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