Four NWA Restaurants Making a Splash in Top 100 List

February 20, 2021

Community

NWA Council's Winter Meeting Recap

NWA Daily

On Thursday (Feb. 18), the Northwest Arkansas Council met virtually for its winter meeting, highlighting the success of a COVID-19 healthcare program, a new five-year plan of the Walton Family Foundation, and work on a state hate crime bill.

  • In July, the council was awarded $7 million in federal aid to develop a COVID-19 contact tracing program, intended to slow the rapid spread of cases among Marshallese and Hispanic residents in NWA, along with four other counties in other parts of the state.
  • Nelson Peacock, CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council, said the council’s healthcare goals have now pivoted from transforming the area to a regional healthcare destination to mitigating the spread of the virus. -Talk Business & Politics
  • In addition, the Walton Family Foundation has announced a strategic five year plan to promote cultural vibrancy, foster inclusive growth and a sense of belonging, and support community leadership and capacity building in the "Home Region" of NWA.
  • Lastly, Karen Roberts, presiding co-chair for the council and executive VP and general counsel for Walmart, praised the council’s support for diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and noted Arkansas is one of three states without a hate crime law. - Talk Business & Politics

Restaurant

Four NWA Restaurants Make Yelp's Top 100 in 2021

Wright's BBQ (Johnson)

In December 2020, Yelp asked its loyal community to shout out their favorite restaurants and go-to hotspots. Yesterday, Yelp officially released it's Top 100 Places to Eat in 2021 and four NWA eateries made the cut!

  • Ranking highest on the list was Wright's Barbecue, coming in at No. 18. Located in Johnson, Wright's is best known for their mouthwatering brisket, fall-off-the-bone ribs, and burnt ends.
  • Havana Tropical Grill in Rogers was the second-highest ranking NWA restaurant on this list at No. 52. This little slice of Cuba will have you saying one word - empanadas.
  • Familiar, fast favorite Sushi House in Bentonville placed 81st, and Khana Indian Grill in Fayetteville closely followed in the 89th spot.
  • You can view the full list of Yelp's 100 HERE.

Politics

Gravette Senator Jim Hendren Leaves GOP for Independent Party

Arkansas Senator Jim Hendren, a former Republican from Gravette, has announced his decision to leave the GOP and form an Independent party called Common Ground Arkansas.

  • Common Ground Arkansas is a new organization aimed at working in a bipartisan fashion. In a video statement, he cited his tipping point were the pro-Trump riots and insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
  • Sen. Hendren believes he can do the best work for Arkansas from an Independent platform, not bound to either party. "I've been frustrated with the tone of politics for some time... what I've seen in both parties is a structure that's gotten more and more extreme, and left more and more people without a voice," Hendren said. -KUAF
  • According to the Washington Post, for the first time in history, there are more registered independents in the United States than there are registered Republicans. Andrew Dowdle, a political science professor at the U of A, says Hendren's decision is "thought provoking" and should promote a conversation among all voters about the nature of American politics. -40/29 News
  • "We want to encourage the trip across the aisle and make it easier to resist forces that continue to push both parties to extremes," Hendren said. Listen to the full story on KUAF.

Business

JB Hunt and Google Partner to Match Carriers with Shippers

NWA Daily (JB Hunt Headquarters, Lowell)

On Thursday, Lowell-based JB Hunt Transport Services announced a multi-year strategic alliance with Google, looking to strengthen its freight brokerage business, a market facing competition from digital-only upstarts.

  • The company will do this by working with Google to develop machine-learning models to optimize match-making between shippers and carriers using its JB Hunt 360 platform, which aids shippers with supply and demand information ahead of time and allows carriers to estimate future fuel and transportation costs. -Wall Street Journal
  • Shelley Simpson, J.B. Hunt’s chief commercial officer, said the recent partnership with Google allows J.B. Hunt to propel its digital transformation. Engineers and business leaders from both companies will focus on three transformational areas:
    1. Open Cloud Capabilities to Create a Sophisticated Operating Model
    2. Data Science to Drive Efficiency
    3. Co-Innovation to Drive Future Solutions
  • "Our partnership with J.B. Hunt creates a unique opportunity to transform the shipping and logistics experience through the use of AI, ML, and other technologies to help businesses—and the logistics industry as a whole—innovate for the future," said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud -PR Newswire

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