Ray’s announced as 2024 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame finalist


Finalists have been announced for the 2024 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, and Monticello’s own, Ray’s, has been named as a finalist.

“It certainly is an honor for Ray’s to be recognized by the committee as a finalist for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame,” Chris Ray said. “My Grandfather, CL Ray and my Father, Mark Ray before me laid the groundwork for the business many years ago and our family has dedicated our lives into keeping the business thriving thru the years….We are certainly grateful for our many loyal customers in Monticello and throughout the state who have made this possible.”

Launched in 2016 by the Division of Arkansas Heritage, the program celebrates Arkansas' unique culinary heritage by recognizing its best restaurants, proprietors and food-themed events.

“This year’s finalists embody the flavors, traditions and stories that define Arkansas,” said Marty Ryall, director of the Division of Arkansas Heritage. “As we celebrate these restaurants, we honor not only the dishes they create but the communities they feed and the legacies they preserve.”

Arkansans nominated their favorite restaurants earlier this year in these five categories:

  • People’s Choice
  • Gone But Not Forgotten
  • Food-Themed Event
  • Proprietor of the Year
  • Arkansas Food Hall of Fame

Finalists include:

  • Ray’s (Drew County)
  • Top Dog Catering (Lonoke County)
  • Bennett’s Seafood (Garland County)
  • The Purple Banana (Benton County)
  • BubbaLu’s (Garland County)
  • Beech Street Bistro (Ashley County)
  • Anderson’s (White County)
  • Juanita’s (Pulaski County)
  • Polar Freeze (Lawrence County)
  • Arkansas Pie Festival (Sharp County)
  • Mayhaw Festival (Union County)
  • Mt. Nebo Chicken Fry (Yell County)
  • Slovak Oyster Supper (Arkansas County)
  • Soup Sunday (Pulaski County)
  • Crissy’s Pub Style (Saline County)
  • Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie (Washington County)
  • Loca Luna and Red Door (Pulaski County)
  • Woods Place (Ouachita County)
  • Doe’s Eat Place (Pulaski County)
  • Big Banjo Pizza Parlor (Jefferson County)
  • The Faded Rose (Pulaski County)
  • Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets (Lonoke County)
  • Herman’s Ribhouse (Washington County)
  • Daisy Queen (Searcy County)
  • The Dixie Pig (Mississippi County)
  • Old South Restaurant (Pope County)
  • Dairyette (Montgomery County)
  • Hugo’s (Washington County)
  • Taliano’s Italian Restaurant (Sebastian County)
  • Brave New Restaurant (Pulaski County)
  • K Hall & Sons (Pulaski County)

Award finalists were announced at an event today hosted by the Division of Arkansas Heritage. Ryall was accompanied by Shea Lewis, secretary for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, and members of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee.

“Food is such a defining feature of Arkansas, having the potential to tell stories with just one bite,” Lewis said. “Our finalists are perfect examples of this, and we’re honored to recognize their impact on the state’s dynamic food culture.”

Honorees will be inducted into the Arkansas Hall of Fame during a special event in September 2024. Event details will be announced later this year. More information about the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame can be found at ArkFoodHOF.com.