Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, announced on Friday that the nomination period for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame is now open and will run through Oct. 31, 2020. The statewide program is celebrating its fifth year of recognizing restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events.
“This year marks five years of celebrating the best of our state’s food history and culture with the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame,” Hurst said via press release. “Our story is both compelling and instructive and we are excited to continue this conversation.”
Eligible restaurants for the hall of fame must be owned and operated in Arkansas and in business for at least 25 years. National chains won’t be considered. Nominations are being accepted on the Department of Arkansas Heritage website in five categories:
Arkansas Food Hall of Fame – This award recognizes those long-standing restaurants that have become legendary attractions in Arkansas.
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.
Food-Themed Event – This award honors a community food-themed event or festival that makes our state a great place to live and visit.
Gone But Not Forgotten – This award remembers the collective culinary legacy of a once-and-always influential Arkansas restaurant that has since ceased operations.
People’s Choice – This award identifies the public’s favorite. This award is truly in the hands of Arkansans. The restaurant or food truck that receives the highest number of votes wins.
“These nominations honor special food flavors, events and people from across the state,” said Jimmy Bryant, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage. “Every person has a story to tell when it comes to food and these nominations are the perfect time to share your Arkansas food experience.”
More than 1,450 submissions were received from all 75 Arkansas counties last year, more than double from the previous year. Winners will be chosen this winter by a special committee of Arkansans who are historians, chefs, foodies and food authors. Committee members include, 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. Honorees and finalists will be announced at a special ceremony in 2021.
Every restaurant deserves a participation award for operating in 2020. Support your local restaurants by going out to eat or getting takeout. The nomination period will go live on Oct. 1. Show some love to your favorites and vote here.