NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Nashville institution could be returning to Music City. The beloved meat-and-three Arnold’s Country Kitchen is making a comeback—at least temporarily—but the move is a sign there will be more of the southern staple to come.
Although it’s been nearly a year since customers have walked through the doors of the famed red brick building on 8th Avenue, inside you would think nothing has changed.
“It’s been surreal to put everything back,” said Kahlil Arnold, one of the owners of the family-run restaurant.
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After sitting in the dark much of the year, the pictures now hang back on the walls that hold decades of stories within the small cinderblock building.
“This wasn’t part of the plan,” Kahlil laughed.
Perhaps though, he said it was meant to be after the property failed to sell. “My mom was going to sell this property and she was going to retire, and I was going to carry on the tradition somewhere else in a different setting and that didn’t happen. It just fell through.”
The time off gave the Arnold family time to spend with their father Jack before his death in September. “I got to say my goodbyes,” Kahlil said, adding his father made it clear that he wanted the restaurant name to be carried on.
Painting a different story for the Arnold family than the one that left many hungry for meatloaf, turnip greens and chocolate meringue pie earlier this year.
“January 7th was the last day of a 40-year run and this is probably the last place I thought I’d be right now. I pictured running another restaurant, call it Arnold’s, but something different, but to me this building wasn’t finished with us yet so here we are.”
The family is back in the kitchen cooking up some of your southern favs, extending an invitation for you to join their table next week. It’s only fitting that the family-owned business pop open for Thanksgiving, the holiday known for bringing loved ones together.
“It’s what fuels my fire. To have people flying in from California, it just leaves you in tears almost to know the response this has gotten. Thanksgiving is a time for family and to us that’s what Arnolds is. It’s an extended part of our family,” said Kahlil.
He said the move was inspired by John Prine’s wife Fiona, as they hosted a pop-up in October in honor of the legendary songwriter who passed away in 2020. Prine was a longtime customer of Arnold’s with a love for the meatloaf.
Now that the restaurant is back in place and ready to serve, customers are left asking the inevitable.
“Will it come back? Well, this is definitely not the end here, I can say that now. After unloading everything, getting it back, getting it back up you know fueling my hunger I can definitely tell you this won’t be the end. There will definitely be more and whatever happens, it will have a time limit. We are definitely going to do something at the beginning of the year, around that area, something will be happening. Who knows it could be a bunch of pop-ups with a bunch of chefs, who knows what, but that line will live on,” Khalil said, gesturing to the empty cafeteria-style buffet.
Thanksgiving week, Arnold’s Country Kitchen will do lunch service Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can email Arnoldsmeatand3@gmail.com for Thanksgiving reservations, but the spots are nearly full.