One of the city’s most original food festivals hits this weekend. The Arkansas Cornbread Festival is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. The festival is in the SoMa neighborhood and takes up three blocks of Main Street. Teams will be serving their unique takes on cornbread throughout the day; previous years have seen inventions like cornbread ice cream and cornbread pretzels. Several of your favorites will be there, including Cathead’s Diner, The Root and The Capital Hotel. Also, the soon-to-open Dos Rocas Beer and Tacos will be serving up the first bites off its upcoming menu. There will also be live music from the likes of Bonnie Montgomery and Brick Fields. Tickets to the Arkansas Cornbread Festival are $8 in advance and $10 at the gate. Proceeds from the Arkansas Cornbread Festival go to support general improvement projects in the SoMa neighborhood.
After 26 years of business, Georgia’s Gyros in North Little Rock has closed its doors for good. Owner Mark Rogers this week posted on the Georgia’s Gyros Facebook page that he is closing the business for health reasons. Georgia’s was a popular Greek dive restaurant in Lakewood Village, known especially for its gyros and other Mediterranean fare. Georgia’s also appealed to Arkansas comfort sensibilities with pub grub like onion rings and mozzarella sticks, and some generous happy hour beer specials. Rogers and Karla Martinez opened Georgia’s in 1992. Martinez passed away in 2016.
There’s just one week left to nominate your picks for the third class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. Every year, the hall of fame inducts three Arkansas restaurants that have been continuously open for at least 25 years. Six restaurants are in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame thus far: Jones BBQ in Mariana, Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales in Lake Village, McClard’s in Hot Springs, The Venesian Inn in Tontitown, and Lassis Inn and Franke’s Cafeteria in Little Rock. After nominations are in, a panel of Arkansas historians and food writers select the finalists. The winners will be announced in February. To nominate your favorite restaurant, head to the Department of Arkansas Heritage’s website.
This past Friday, Food Network fan favorite Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured Arkansas restaurants for the first time. Flyway Brewing and La Terraza Rum and Lounge both welcomed host Guy Fieri and showed off some highlights from their menus. This Friday at 8 p.m., the Arkansas love continues with an episode featuring Bruno’s Little Italy and North Bar. The following Friday, triple-D will highlight The Fold, and one week later it’s The Root’s turn to shine. No matter your opinion on Guy Fieri (and it’s worth noting that he’s had nothing but positive reviews from restaurant owners), it has been immensely satisfying to finally see Little Rock’s food scene get this level of national attention.
There are very few restaurants on the level of Table 28 in Little Rock, but the last time we stopped in, we found the fine-dining establishment’s bar menu is starting to reach the same level as the kitchen.