Chris Lilly

Mary Beth Ringgold

President of Wharf Restaurants Inc., Capers and the Copper Grill

A West Virginia native, Mary Beth made her way to Little Rock through her work with Anderson’s Cajun’s Wharf in the early 1980’s, where she started in their Knoxville Tennessee location while attending the University of Tennessee. By 1987 she was a minority partner with the group until the restaurants were sold to Landry’s Seafood, a Texas based seafood chain, in 1993. After which time, Mary Beth, worked for an American food distribution company, Quality Products International, which sold American and European products in Russia.

Following that two and ½ year traveling adventure, Mary Beth returned to Little Rock and started a consulting business. But, her real passion was the restaurant business and what she wanted most was to work once again with her best pals. So, she assembled a new partnership group with her longtime friends Marilyn Greene, James Willis and her sister, Sandy Chance. They together created Capers in 1997 and within two years had purchased Cajun’s back from Landry’s. Then, in 2007 the group took on the new and exciting project of creating the Copper Grill which is located in 1st floor of the 300 Third Tower, in downtown Little Rock.

Mary Beth has served the restaurant industry in many volunteer capacities. She is a past president of the Arkansas Restaurant Association, and served on their board for over twenty-five years. She is a past board member of the National Restaurant Association. She was a member of the Little Rock Advertising and Promotion Commission for nine years and chaired that commission for five years. She served on the Arkansas Board of Health and is currently serving on the board of Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

As of recent, Mary Beth was the gold medalist in the UA-PTC Diamond Chef of Arkansas competition to years two years consecutively in 2017 and 2018. She was also chosen as Proprietor of the year by the Department of Arkansas Heritage as part of their annual Food Hall of Fame in March 2018.

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