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“like�us on facebook AY Magazine

add us on google + AY Magazine

follow us on twitter @ayisaboutyou

follow us on instagram @ayisaboutyou

follow us on pinterest AY Magazine

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The omination Categories The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Restaurant This category recognizes outstanding restaurants that are legendary attractions in the state. One look at the winners and finalists verify the qualifications for this competitiv category. Nominees in this category must be owned and operated in Arkansas, must have been in business for at least 25 years or more and must not be a chain restaurant. Three honorees will be selected each year for this category. The first class of inductees are setting the bar high, having been in business for a jaw dropping total of 414 years! The youngest of the three has been serving Arkansans great food since 1941; that’s 76 years! See who they are starting on pg. 28.

The election Committee: Paul S. Austin

Executive Director, Arkansas Humanities Council

Evette Brady

The Proprietor of the Year award

Private Chef

C.C. (Chip) Culpepper

Principal, Chief Creative Office , Mangan Holcomb Partners

This award recognizes a chef, cook and/or restaurant owner who’s made significant achievements in the Arkansas food industry. To be considered, the nominee’s restaurant must be owned and operated in Arkansas, cannot be a chain and has been operating for at least one year. See the winner and finalists starting on pg. 50

Cindy Grisham

Author and Historian

Stacy Hurst

Executive Director Arkansas Department of Heritage

The Food-Themed Event of the Year

Montine McNulty

This award recognizes unique food festivals and events that give residents a taste of Arkansas foods and hospitality. Festivals or events nominated for this award must be an annual event that has been held for at least five years. One honoree will be selected each year for this category. Take a look at the 2017 winner and finalists, pg. 64

The People’s Choice award

Executive Director Arkansas Hospitality Association

Tim Morton

Chef, Cache Little Rock and RH Catering

Rex Nelson

Senior Vice president and Director of Corporate Communications Simmons First National Corp.

Tim Nutt

This award is for favorite restaurant or food truck in the state. The winner was chosen solely on the number of votes from the public, without any input from the AFHOF committee. Criteria to be considered was the restaurant or food truck must be owned and operated in Arkansas, have been in business for at least one year and must not be a chain restaurant. One honoree will be selected each year for this category again, strictly by the most nominations. See Hall of Fame’s first winner on pg. 58

Director Historical Research Center, Kat Robinson, Travel Writer

PHOTOGRAPHY BY: JAMISON MOSLEY

Christina Shutt

Director, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

Lisa Speer

Director, Arkansas State Archives AYMAG.COM . 37


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BY BRIGETTE WILLIAMS :: PHOTOGRAPHY BY JAMISON MOSLEY GRAPHIC DESIGN BY MARRISSA MILLER

2017 Food Hall of Fame Inductees

What would Arkansas’ fine and upscale dining consist of if these f our gentlemen had not come together to make culinary magic at the legendary Jacques & Suzanne restaurant atop what is now the Regions Bank building overlooking downtown Little Rock? Those old enough to appreciate the idea of watermelon radishes, ‘raw bars’ and hand rolled sushi, f ormer f oreign concepts f or the majority of Arkansans, can applaud these f our f or expanding dining options. They have since ventured out with their own locations that have developed a second and third generation of chef s and restaurants with ties to them. We counted at least 20 restaurants opened in the past 30 years since Jacques & Suzanne closed its doors May 1986 with a dinner to end all dinners. Thanks to Louis, Paul, Ed and Denis, diners from across the state and beyond continue to dine at their culinary offshoots, most of which are still open today.

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2017 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Inductees

The Proprietors Louis Petit Paul Bash Ed Moore Denis Seyer

The Finalists Capi Peck Scott McGehee Joe St. Columbia

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S

cott McGehee Yellow Rocket Concepts - Little Rock

How does a reluctant college student go from Little Rock to California to learn cooking at the hem of culinary goddess Alice Waters of the famed Chez Panisse? Ask Scott McGehee. After a few years honing their skills, McGehee and best friend Roger Runnells returned home to open the city’s first European styled bakery, Boulevard Bread, with crusty baguettes, a variety of cheeses not found in grocery stores, soups and more. Now, with partners John Beachboard and Russ McDonough, the three are casual dining powerhouses. If you have a favorite cuisine, they probably have it covered—Big Orange, great burgers and milk shakes; ZaZa Fine Salad and Wood Oven Pizza in Little Rock and Conway; Local Lime’s creative salsas, tacos and tequilas; and Lost Forty, a microbrewery with ribs smoking outside and Heights Taco & Tamale Company, described as Delta Mexican. Sit tight, because something tells us, McGehee’s not through adding dining options. “My amazing family, restaurant group and leaders are very excited about the future of food in Arkansas and have plans to being part of that puzzle.” And, so we wait.

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edibles

LOOK WHO'S COOKIN'

Opened since the summer of 2015, this dining favorite has already earned a devoted following resulting in their being inducted into the first Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

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GROTTO

WOOD-FIRED GRILL AND WINE CAVE - 2017 Food Hall of Fame People's Choice Unknown to Grotto Chef/Founder Rodney Slane and Co-Owner Autumn Spencer at the time of this interview, they weren't just finalists for the first Arkansas Food Hall of Fame People's Choice Award, they are the winner! Opened in Eureka Springs in June 2015, read on to see what captured the support of their diners to make them winners. BY BRIGETTE WILLIAMS :: PHOTOGRAPHY BY MEREDITH MASHBURN

How did you guys join together in the business? Rodney: It's funny that you asked. (He chuckled) We've been long-time friends since the ninth grade, keeping track of each other and talking periodically through the years. Autumn: Rodney actually convinced me to visit him in Eureka to check out the restaurant he was building. As you can imagine after not seeing him in over 10 years I was a little nervous. Rodney: Nervous?!? LOL I was more nervous to show her the creation of a dream that I've had for many years. Autumn: Oh, but the space was beyond beautiful. He had put so much work into his dream. I fell hard for his passion and drive - this was someone that could challenge me! He has an amazing entrepreneurial spirit that pushes him to create more and more. From there we learned each other, learned how to work and love together. I like to say we are "partners.� We are partners in business AND love. He is truly my soul mate. What made the two of you open Grotto? I have worked at many prestigious restaurants. The experience that they would create is something that I wanted to be a able to give as well. Eureka has had a pull on me since I've visited even as a young child. I wanted to give Eureka Springs that experience of a relaxing, fun, great wine and most importantly the best of culinary enjoyment. It was time for me to move past the fear of flight and take off on my first adventure. Are you two from Eureka Springs? If not, from where? Both originally from a small town in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, close to Tulsa. We have both moved to many different places over the years. Dallas, West Palm Beach, too many to list. How did you decide on the type of cuisine and vibe of the restaurant? The process of my mind went in many directions. Many different ways, until I found a wood fired grill for $150. After I purchased it everything came together. It was the catalyst for the inspiration. Sometimes it's one small thought or grill (laughing) that spurs a vision. What's your favorite items and why? Your favorite guests? Hand cut 30-ounce bone-in ribeye; the flavor of the beef and the way the grill infuses the meat with the soft oaky flavor is incredible. It's simple yet beautiful. My favorite guests are the ones that are there for a dining experience. The ones that try something new or something unusual to them. The foodies. What were your expectations of the restaurant? Rodney: With realistic thoughts and knowledge of business, I built the restaurant so I could run it completely on my own. I figured I would be slaving over the fire for years. I never would have expected it to be so successful so quickly. How has the response been from the community? Everyone has been overwhelmingly supportive. We, as a community, try to support each other and help each other grow. What are your future plans for the restaurant? Another location? Different restaurant? Future plans ... well that is a broad question?!? Well, we are entrepreneurs so we just opened an event/wedding venue this year. We have had much talk about another GROTTO maybe in Tulsa? We also are working on, yes, another restaurant concept. My love of food continues with not just one vision! LOL How does it feel to be a finalist for the first Food Hall of Fame? Completely indescribable! It's an amazing feeling to be validated with people loving your creations and appreciating your dreams. Thank you for the overwhelming response and support.

FOLLOW AUTUMN AND RODNEY'S PLAYLIST ON SPOTIFY THAT INCLUDES LEGENDARY ARTISTS LANA DEL REY, STING AND JON HOPKINS. HTTPS://OPEN.SPOTIFY.COM/USER/AYMAGAZINE AYMAG.COM . 59


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AY Magazine - March 2017  

Arkansas Hall of Fame restaurants, proprietors, and food events.

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