Two South Logan county eateries recently announced via social media accounts they have been nominated for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.
Reid’s Hometown Barbecue in Booneville and Mel’s Hwy. 10 Cafe in Magazine will learn Thursday, Jan. 10, if they are a finalist for the award.
Reid’s was nominated in the People’s Choice and Proprietor of the Year divisions and Mel’s was nominated in the People’s Choice division.
Both restaurant owners had to be convinced initially.
“When we first received the letter we thought it was just junk mail, until we looked further into it and realized it was the real deal,” said Melissa Mathews. “We are so honored and grateful to know we have been nominated for such a great award.”
“We were surprised and honored, after we realized it was legit,” said Steve Reid. “We had never heard, nor did we realize there was such a thing.”
The cafe is in its fourth year of operation and Reid’s will start its fourth year in business in March.
A spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Heritage, who oversees the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame program, said last week initial nominations for enshrinement are made by the public.
After an establishment is nominated, a committee makes a final decision as to which businesses make a final nomination list.
“As you know food has a rich tradition throughout our state and the Department of Arkansas Heritage could not think of a better way to honor that heritage that with the creation of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame,” the restaurants were informed in a notification letter. “This program celebrates our unique foods, legendary restaurants, remarkable chefs, food entrepreneurs and culinary significant festivals and events.
“The Arkansas Hall of Fame is our way of recognizing the ‘taste-setters’ statewide who provide an extra helping of good ‘ole Arkansas hospitality.”
The Hall of Fame is in its third year. Previous winners for Proprietor of the Year have been Mary Beth Ringgold of Little Rock and the Continental Cuisine Partnership, also of Little Rock.
Previous winners of the People’s Choice division have been JJ’s Lakeside Cafe and the Grotto Wood Fired Grill and Wine Cave.
Finalists will be announced at a 2:30 p.m. news conference on Jan. 10 at the Department of Arkansas Heritage and a formal induction ceremony for the Hall is set for Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock on Feb. 25.