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Dairy King in Portia was recently named as a finalist in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Class of 2021. The framed awards hang on the wall near staff members (front, from left): Lynzi Rivers, Liz Moore; (back) Gina Rorex, Lori Kisling, Crystal Williams, Mikki Kincade, Sheila Russell and Ronnie LeBlanc.

Dairy King in Portia has long been a tradition for Lawrence County residents and those traveling through the area on Highway 63.

Arkansas Heritage recently recognized the impact of the restaurant naming Dairy King as a finalist in the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

“Food has a rich tradition throughout our state, and the Division of Arkansas Heritage could not think of a better way to honor that heritage than with the creation of the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame, which is now in its fifth year,” Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said.

Owner Gina Rorex said the honor came as a surprise to her.

“I honestly didn’t even know we had been nominated until I got a letter,” she said.

Dairy King has been in her family since 1991, but was open for many years prior to that, as well.

“It means a lot,” she said of the recognition. “My dad worked hard. We’re humbled and honored.”

In addition to being recognized in awards ceremonies, Dairy King received letters of congratulations from Hurst, as well as Auditor of State Andrea Lea.

Dairy King also received certificates for being nominated and for being named as a finalist, which are now displayed in the restaurant.

In her letter, Auditor Lea thanked the restaurant for its dedication to the state’s food industry.

“This honor is a culmination of years of hard work for which you should be proud,” she wrote. “Thank you for your commitment to excellence in the Arkansas food industry, and I wish you continued success.”

Rorex said the heart of their business is their customers.

“We appreciate our customers so much,” she said. “We hope to keep serving and continue to be a positive part of our community.”

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