Tomorrow, the Department of Arkansas Heritage will reveal the finalists for the 2019 class of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame. This is the third year for the event, which has so far inducted six restaurants into its ranks. To reach the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, a restaurant must have been in business for at least 25 consecutive years and be nominated by a member of the public. After the finalists are chosen, a panel of judges from around the state select the three inductees. The six honorees so far include Arkansas legends like Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales in Lake Village, Jones BBQ in Marianna and Franke’s Cafeteria here in Little Rock. The finalists will be announced tomorrow at the Department of Arkansas Heritage at 2:30 p.m. on North Street. If you go, you’ll get more than just an announcement; the event will feature samples of what the invitation calls the “Food of the Year.”
No, it’s not a slow news day, I just think this story is awesome: Fassler Hall is hosting a Nintendo 64 Mario Kart tournament, and you’re invited to compete. The tournament is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 16, and is being held in collaboration with Wiseacre Brewing Company out of Memphis. Sign-up for the tournament starts at 5:30 p.m., and the green flag drops on the first race at 6 p.m. Wiseacre will be staging a tap takeover with some of their most popular beers available, like Tiny Bomb pilsner and Gotta Get Up to Get Down coffee stout. Look, I know the Nintendo 64 version of the game is almost 20 years old now, but for those of us who wasted way too much time in front of it, this tournament is a great chance to dust off those power sliding skills.
Shucked Surf and Turf Shack in Conway is in a bit of limbo right now. The building that the restaurant is in is up for sale, even though Shucked itself is open and doing fine. The restaurant’s ownership says business will continue at least until the building is sold, and even then the restaurant might not have to move. Still, the group is obviously scouting new locations in preparation for a worst-case scenario. Shucked Surf and Turf Shack opened almost two years ago and has been a hit with the city’s diners ever since. We went when Shucked first opened and found a lot to like, including fried crawfish tales, raw oysters and a massive beef short rib.
Speaking of oysters, visitors to The Oyster Bar in Stifft Station might think the restaurant is closed when they pull up. The Oyster Bar is open as usual, but energy company workers are digging up and replacing gas pipes near the parking lot in the back. Of course, that’s where most diners enter the building. CenterPoint crews will be working in the area for at least a couple of weeks, but unless something goes wrong, The Oyster Bar will be open throughout the maintenance project.
One of my favorite recurring events in Hillcrest is back early next week at La Terraza Rum and Lounge. Mojito Mania is Tuesday night from 5:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. If you haven’t tried them, La Terraza’s mojitos are easily the best we’ve tried in Little Rock, and the restaurant has several delicious varieties to choose from. On Tuesday, there are three seatings to choose from: at 5:30, 7:15 and 9:00. The special for the evening is a flight of mojitos for $10, but having gone to a few of these, I can tell you the bar team will happily make you up whatever mojito you’re in the mood for. To register for one of the seatings, call 501-251-8621 and reserve your spot.
It was a bummer of a start to the week, as TAE Restaurant at the Hotel Frederica announced it is closing for good. We spoke with co-owners Justin Patterson and CC Key and got their thoughts on the restaurant’s end.
And there’s a fantastic brew on tap at The Water Buffalo that supports a worthy cause. We checked out Resilience IPA and how it’s helping victims of California’s deadliest wildfire of 2018.