LET'S EAT | Yeyo’s Rafael Rios again named James Beard semifinalist; eateries nominated for Hall of Fame

Yeyo’s Rios a James Beard semifinalist

Rafael Rios of Yeyo’s has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards.

(Courtesy Photo/Visit Bentonville)
Rafael Rios of Yeyo’s has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards. (Courtesy Photo/Visit Bentonville)


Rafael Rios of Yeyo's has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation's Restaurant and Chef Awards.

Like last year, he's recognized in the Best Chef: South, category, which includes chefs from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. He was also named a semifinalist in 2020.

Rios founded the Rios Family Farm in Little Flock in 2012 and opened a food truck in downtown Bentonville soon after.

The business has since expanded to include a flagship Mexican restaurant in Bentonville, a mezcaleria in downtown Rogers and food trucks in downtown Bentonville and Rogers.

Yeyo's also received some considerable media attention in 2o22. The Bentonville restaurant showed up on a New York Times list of 50 best restaurants in the United States last year, and Yeyo's Mezcaleria y Taqueria in Rogers was featured by Garden & Gun magazine.

Food Hall of Fame

Hugo's of Fayetteville is a finalist for induction into the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, along with two other Northwest Arkansas contenders, Ozark Cafe of Jasper and DeVito's Restaurant in Harrison.

Arkansas Heritage will announce this year's winners at a ceremony in March. A restaurant must be owned and operated in the state for at least 25 years in order to be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Three restaurants are inducted each year.

Also nominated are Betty's Old Fashion of El Dorado; Big Banjo Pizza of Pine Bluff; Black Angus of Little Rock; Bulldog Restaurant of Bald Knob; Daisy Queen of Marshall; Kream Kastle of Blytheville; Meacham's Family Restaurant of Ash Flat; Skyline Cafe of Mena; and The Ohio Club of Hot Springs.

Other awards are given in the categories of Proprietor of the Year, including nominee David Stobaugh, Stoby's Restaurant of Conway; Food-Themed Event; Gone But Not Forgotten; People's Choice; and Food of the Year.

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism announced in December that 1,828 nominations, representing all 75 counties, were submitted for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame last year.

Winners are picked each year by the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Committee, which is made up of Arkansas historians, chefs, foodies and food authors.

Airship Coffee

Airship Coffee in Bentonville has opened a shop on the first floor of the Ledger building.

The cafe is currently open to the public at 240 S. Main St. during Ledger business hours, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to social media posts.

Airship has two other locations in Bentonville -- one at 1000 S.E. Fifth St. and another at the Coler Mountain Bike Preserve.

A fourth Airship coffee shop is in the works with plans to open later this year in the former Head Start building just north of the downtown square.

And...

Now for a few more you may have missed.

• Frost Fest Outdoor Beer Festival is returning Saturday to the Washington County Fairgrounds in Fayetteville.

• StoneHouse in Fort Smith at 8801 Wells Lake Road has announced Rachel Cannon will be its new executive chef. Cannon is a Fort Smith native and has been the executive chef at Tin Roof in Nashville, Tenn.

• Bakery and cafe Baked by Kori and Asian restaurant So Chill Eat both opened recently in Rogers.

Baked by Kori is open at 128 S. Second St. from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

So Chill Eat is open at 2603 W. Pleasant Grove Road from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

The following businesses have also opened in recent months across the region: NobiliTea in Springdale at 1345 E. Henri De Tonti Blvd.; La Torcia Brick Oven Pizza in Siloam Springs at 3505 U.S. 412; Romero's Cuisine Toque Latino in Springdale at 1813 W. Huntsville Ave.; and Vinnie's Pies in Fort Smith at 1121 Garrison Ave.

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We'll be back next week with more restaurant news across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. Has one recently opened or closed near you? Does your favorite spot have a new menu? Let us know. Email [email protected].

  photo  Rafael Rios of Yeyo’s has been named a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards. (Courtesy Photo/Visit Bentonville)