The winners have been announced for the 2019 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, including food-themed events, restaurants, and proprietors from across the state. The Hope Watermelon Festival made the list!

The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame was launched by the Department of Arkansas Heritage in 2016 to recognize Arkansas’s iconic restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events. Nominations were accepted from the public in five categories: Food Hall of Fame, Proprietor of the Year, Food-Themed Event, Gone But Not Forgotten and People’s Choice.

According to a press release, the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee chose the finalists in each category and the winners were announced at a reception and induction ceremony at Ron Robinson Theater in Little Rock on February 25.

Winners are as follows:

Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

Burge’s Hickory Smoked Turkeys and Hams of Little Rock and Lewisville (Pulaski County and Lafayette County)

Proprietor of the Year

Loretta Tacker of Marion (Crittenden County)


Food-Themed Events

Hope Watermelon Festival (Hempstead County)


Gone But Not Forgotten

Klappenbach Bakery of Fordyce (Dallas County)


People’s Choice


Nearly 650 nominations were received for the third class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

“People are passionate about their food! We are so pleased to see the increasing response from the public in this conversation on Arkansas food and food culture,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage,  “From classics to new flavors, Arkansas’s food landscape continues to develop and we are pleased to be telling that story.”


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