Three Arkansas restaurants have joined the Arkansas Heritage Arkansas Food Hall of Fame: Colonial Steak House in Pine Bluff, Dairy King in Portia, and Neal’s Cafe in Springdale.
The three were announced Monday in a hybrid ceremony (part live, part Zoom) at the Central Arkansas Library System’s Ron Robinson Theater in downtown Little Rock.
A committee of Arkansas historians, chefs, foodies and food writers chose the winners from 15 finalists, selected from 2,000 submissions from Arkansas’ 75 counties.
The 2022 Food Hall of Fame class also includes Capi Peck and Brent Peterson of Trio Restaurant in Little Rock as owners of the year.
The Duck Gumbo Cookoff World Championship in Stuttgart was the first choice for the food-themed event. And Hot Springs’ Coy’s Steak House won the “Gone But Not Forgotten” category.
The People’s Choice winner, chosen by popular vote rather than the panel: La Casa de Mi Abuelita food truck, based in Jefferson County.
The panel chose to honor chicken as the 2022 Food of the Year.
The state’s Arkansas Heritage agency established the Food Hall of Fame program in 2016.
Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, joined 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 on the Selection Board.