NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nashville’s restaurant industry is struggling to make ends meet amidst COVID-19. Some, long-standing staples in our city fear they won’t be able to keep their doors open.
Family-run businesses like Arnold’s Country Kitchen are part of the fabric that makes Nashville, but with the dining room closed, they are struggling to keep the lights on.
Since 1982, Arnold’s has been serving up some of the best food in the south.
“We have our fried chicken, panko fried shrimp, cream corn, fried green tomatoes, green beans, turnip greens,” chef Kahlil Arnold went on.
That southern goodness draws in everyone; a must-stop from tourists to state representatives and the most-talented of musicians.
“Jack White’s first time in here, Porter Wagoner brought him in,” Arnold when on to tell stories of everyone from Shel Silverstein to John Prine and Tim McGraw.
Photos on the walls, serve as a glimpse into the history of never ending stories.
While Arnold’s is continuously voted best of Nashville ‘Meat ‘n Threes,’ it’s perhaps the Arnold family behind the counter that makes the restaurant feel like home.
“We definitely make the food from scratch and put so much love in the food, but I think it’s a feeling of just welcomeness and feeling like you are just part of the community and I think that’s Nashville as a whole. When you go anywhere you feel like you are part of the family, which is one reason why I love being here.”
However, he doesn’t know if they can keep up with only curbside pickup and delivery as sales are down nearly 90 percent.
“A lot of places don’t, aren’t necessarily going to reopen and that’s one reason I guess I was afraid to close the doors. It’s like I gotta keep going.”
Meantime, hopefully, the community will keep supporting so we don’t lose Nashville treasures like Arnold’s.
“It’s a freaking scary time without knowing exactly when we are going to open and where exactly the money is going to come from,” explained Arnold.
He went on to say that without some help from the state and federal government, places like theirs will no longer exist.
Arnold’s has reshaped their business model as they try to stay afloat by offering family meal packs as well as delivery options.