An Arkansas Delta Food Hall of Fame Road Trip

By: 
Updated: 
Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna was Arkansas's first James Beard award winner
Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna was Arkansas's first James Beard award winner

WARNING! Reading this blog will most likely make you extremely hungry!

You can find amazing food throughout The Natural State. That is one of the reasons that the Department of Arkansas Heritage decided to create the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame in 2016. The first awards were presented in January 2017. Nominees from the Arkansas Delta for 2021 include the Colonial Steak House in Pine Bluff, the Dairy King in Portia, the Dixie Pig in Blytheville, Kream Kastle in Blytheville, Jamie McAfee of Pine Bluff, the Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival in Warren and the World Championship Duck Gumbo Cook-off in Stuttgart. Winners of the 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame will be announced on Monday, Feb. 22. To learn more, visit arkansasheritage.com/Food-Hall-of-Fame/Main.

Categories in the annual awards are Food-Themed Event, Proprietor of the Year, Gone But Not Forgotten, the People’s Choice and three additions to the prestigious Food Hall of Fame.  

The Arkansas Delta has been well-represented in the list of nominees and winners each year. In fact, two of the first three inductees into the Hall of Fame were from the Lower Delta region:  Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales in Lake Village and James Beard award-winning Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna.

The Craig Brothers Café in DeValls Bluff, often included on best barbecue lists nationwide, was inducted as a member of the Hall of Fame in 2019. Check out this great video about Craig's from our friends at the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Loretta Tacker of Tacker’s Shake Shack in Marion was chosen Proprietor of the Year in 2019. The Shake Shack has been in business in Marion since 1977. It's one of my favorite places to visit...not only because of their great food...but because of the Tacker family and their staff. Also I love that I can get a burger in the morning for breakfast or pancakes for dinner. The entire menu is available all day.

The Sweet Phoenix at Tacker's Shake Shack in Marion
The Sweet Phoenix at Tacker's Shake Shack in Marion

This past year, Murry’s Restaurant in Hazen was inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Their catfish has been hailed as some of the best in the South. I'll personally say their steaks are pretty awesome too!

Murry's Restaurant in Hazen is known for their catfish
Murry's Restaurant in Hazen is known for their catfish