AR Restaurant Association

The Arkansas Restaurant Association is committed to representing, educating and advancing the goals of the restaurant industry in our state. All members of the Arkansas Restaurant Association are automatically enrolled as members of the National Restaurant Association. Upon joining the Arkansas Hospitality Association, restaurant members are eligible for free or discounted services, education and training programs, insurance and more.

What’s Hot in 2018 Culinary Forecast


America’s Restaurants: Industry of Opportunity

As the second largest private-sector employer in the country, America’s restaurants are an economic force, but that statistic doesn’t fully tell the story of the millions of individuals who are living the American Dream by working in our industry. This eight-minute video captures a few poignant stories that help tell the ‘Industry of Opportunity’ story.

Infographic: Moving up… and over

The restaurant industry prides itself on being an industry of opportunity. New research from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation shows exactly how much opportunity is available within the industry: transferrable work skills, upward mobility and long-term careers are all around. 

Arkansas Restaurant Association Officers and Board Members for 2019

  • President  – Chef Rob Nelson, Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie, Bentonville
  • Vice President – Ryan Hamra, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, Little Rock
  • Secretary/Treasurer – Rob Apple, RopeSwing Group, Bentonville

ARA Board of Directors – Terms to Expire 2023

  • Ed David, Faded Rose, Little Rock
  • Tom Gordon, Slim Chickens Restaurants, Fayetteville
  • Tim Janssen, Janssen’s Lakefront Restaurant & Janssen’s at the Bay, Greers Ferry
  • Don Neal, Neal’s Café, Springdale
  • John McNamara, Mike’s Place, Conway
  • Mike Selig, 42 Bar & Table, Little Rock
  • Megan Tyree, Penguin Ed’s B&B, Fayetteville
  • Al Watkins, The Butcher Shop, Little Rock

ARA Board of Directors – Terms to Expire 2022

  • Casey Copeland, The Avenue, Hot Springs
  • Crystal Dear, Allsopp & Chapple Restaurant & Bar, Little Rock
  • Brandon Douglas, Green Leaf Grill, Little Rock
  • Jeremy Gardner, TGI Friday’s, Conway & Fort Smith
  • Chad Hammontree, Hammontree Grilled Cheese, Fayetteville

ARA Board of Directors – Terms to Expire 2021

  • Zachary David, The Faded Rose, Little Rock
  • Diane Knight, Penguin Ed’s BBQ, Fayetteville 
  • Vince Schallenberg, All Aboard, Little Rock
  • Steve Shadid, Next Level Events, Little Rock

ARA Board of Directors – Terms to Expire 2020

  • Jose Soto, Jose’s Mexican Restaurant, Hot Springs

 Past Presidents

  • Rob Best,  Simply The Best, North Little Rock
  • Alvin Brown, Brown’s Catfish Restaurant, Russellville
  • Joe Caldarera, Emmy’s, Fort Smith
  • Mike Coats, Mike’s Place, Conway
  • David Culpepper, Subway/The Culpepper Co., Fayetteville
  • Sam Culpepper, Subway/Culpepper Co., Fayetteville
  • Joe DeVito, DeVito’s Restaurant & Trout Farm, Harrison
  • W. K. “Bill” Franke, Franke’s, Inc., Little Rock
  • Donnie Ferneau, Cathead’s Diner, Little Rock
  • Todd Gold, UA-PTC Culinary & Hospitality Institute, Little Rock
  • Romaine Guillory, Cajun’s Boiler’s, Hot Springs
  • Jamie McAfee, Pine Bluff Country Club, Pine Bluff
  • Capi Peck, Trio’s, Little Rock
  • Mary Beth Ringgold, Capers/Cajun’s Wharf/Copper Grill, Little Rock
  • John Sproles, Community Bakery, Little Rock
  • Eddie York, Art’s BBQ & Catering, Ft. Smith
  • Rolf Wilkin, Eureka Pizza, Fayetteville
  • Melody Williford,  American Pie Pizza, North Little Rock


Industry Links

National Restaurant Association
Education and Careers, ServSafe Food and Alcohol Training and Scholarships
Tip the Scales in Your Favor: What you don’t know might be hurting your bottom line
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