NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — After serving up some of Nashville’s favorite southern foods for more than four decades, Arnold’s Country Kitchen finally closed its doors on Saturday.

“We have family that comes in from Jersey, from Florida, from Nebraska. This is number one to go for lunch,” said Chris Howell, an Arnold’s customer for 30 years. 

For co-owner Kahlil Arnold and his family, their restaurant has been a labor of love.  

“The restaurant is like a part of our family. I mean, everybody that comes in here, to me, is a part of our family,” Arnold said. 

The family admitted that Nashville’s growth has been hard to keep up with.  

“Anybody in the downtown area knows that property taxes have been no fun,” Arnold explained. “You know, we could move out to Brentwood and for the same area we’d be paying about 10 grand, and in Nashville we pay about 80 grand.”

He added that closing down was no easy decision.  

“My message forward would be go out and visit the McCabe’s Pub, go out and visit the Wendell Smith’s, the Swett’s, the Prince’s, the mom and pop businesses. I mean, just go out and visit, take care of the small business. I mean, that’s what Nashville was born and bred on,” Arnold said.  

Customers thought back to simpler times as they enjoyed their last meal at Arnold’s on Saturday, Jan. 7.  

“It’s just a meat and three, just good, wholesome country cooking. A lot of places will call it soul food,” longtime Arnold’s customer Alan Blankenship described. “It’s got different names, it’s just a lot of love put into it and keeps you warm on a cold day.”

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“It’s kind of like everything else in Nashville, the reason we were the ‘it’ city’s kind of gone and it’s going,” he added.

One thing that won’t outgrow this family is their love for Nashville 

“We’ve always tried to be ‘everybody’s welcome at our table.’ And the people of Nashville has always given that to us,” Arnold said. “And if anything, just spread that word — that everybody’s welcome at every table.”

One silver lining in all of this, as Arnold’s told News 2, is that they will be back in some form or fashion, but those plans are still very much in the works.