The Oprah bookclub of the local restaurant scene | Eat Arkansas

The Oprah bookclub of the local restaurant scene

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I devoted a big chunk of the media column this week to "Pam's Picks," the weekly food feature Pamela Smith has been doing since 2009.

KATV mainstay Pamela Smith is leaving the station at the end of the month to become the Little Rock School District's director of communications. As weekend anchor for more than a decade, she's been a familiar face to KATV viewers, who'll no doubt miss her steadiness. But one group in particular that's bound to be especially bummed by Smith's departure? Restaurant owners.

Since 2009, Smith's selection of a restaurant for her weekly "Pam's Picks" dining feature has been like Oprah picking a book for her bookclub once was — a guarantee of a significant sales bump. Big Orange, the popular West Little Rock burger joint, set a sales record the week it was featured. Owners of Brown Sugar Bakery and Stickyz, both in the River Market and both featured on "Pam's Picks" last year, also told me they got big boosts after their segments, particularly from first-time customers outside of Central Arkansas.

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