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Two of the honorees at the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony have more in common than one might think. They both have been around for more than 75 years, are known for their barbecue and for drawing in politicians. However, one serves up beef and pork -- the other? Raccoon.

McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant in Hot Springs and the annual Gillett Coon Supper were honored at the ceremony March 6 at the Ron Robinson Theater.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame were McClard's, Franke's Cafeteria and the Venesian Inn of Tontitown. Awards were also given in various categories and the Coon Supper won for Food-Themed Event. Mary Beth Ringold was named Proprietor of the Year and Cotham's Mercantile in Scott was recognized as a place Gone But Not Forgotten. The People's Choice Award went to JJ's Lakeside Cafe in Lake Village.

The evening began with a reception in the lobby with wine and beer, street tacos and what the Hall of Fame committee has proclaimed the food of the year -- tamales.

Guests were welcomed by Arkansas Department of Heritage Director Stacy Hurst. Keynote speaker for the event was Liz Williams, president of the National Food and Beverage Foundation and director of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette columnist Rex Nelson served as master of ceremonies.

Around 450 nominations were received this year -- the second year for the event which was created to recognize the state's legendary restaurants, food events and proprietors.

-- Story and photos by Cary Jenkins

Gallery: The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

High Profile on 03/18/2018

Print Headline: Five-star food

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