NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s the final days for one of Nashville’s most well loved meat n’ three’s.
Arnold’s Country Kitchen on 8th Avenue plans to close Saturday after 40 years of service in Music City.
“It’s an unbelievable story,” Kahlil Arnold, one of the owner’s of Arnold’s Country Kitchen, explained.
Kahlil was just six years old when his dad Jack bought the café where he worked, with the help of a loan from another Nashvillian.
“I think that kind of epitomizes what Arnold’s is to Nashville then to what Arnold’s is to Nashville now,” Kahlil said.
From the catfish to the banana pudding, the menu at Arnold’s is hard to beat when it comes to southern food, a tradition that runs in the family blood.
“I remember growing up and either picking greens or helping bus tables or doing dishes,” Kahlil explained.
His father Jack was often found cutting the roast beef and cracking jokes, no matter how long the line stretched, a job replaced by his children more than a decade ago.
“We’ve put our heart and love and sweat and tears into this place,” said Kahlil.
The homecooked food served as a staple for locals and visitors alike, with the photos on the wall serving as a glimpse at some of their well known patrons.
“I think it started with Chet Atkins, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, and then there’s John Prine,” Kahlil said, going on sharing stories that would only happen in Nashville.
It didn’t matter who you were, though, the Arnolds welcomed all walks of life into their restaurant as family.
“To us everybody that’s been here is family, and I guess that’s the best way I can put it,” he said.
While the food may have put Arnold’s on the map, the hospitality from the three generations of family found working behind the counter is what brought customers back.
“It’s really the people. You can get good food anywhere, but the atmosphere, the people, can’t beat it,” said Jimmy Terry who has been eating at the restaurant for decades.
“I’m not here to eat today, I’m here to say goodbye to good friends,” said Tommy Campsey who has been a regular since first dining with his father in the ’80s.
On Wednesday, droves of people lined up for one “last supper”, some with tears to say ‘thank you’ as the news that the famed red brick building and the neighboring parking lots are being sold is bitter sweet.
“It’s just surreal that this is the end,” said Kahlil.
His mother Rose, the matriarch, is ready to rest, he explained, calling the closure an evolution of Nashville history.
“To be around 40 years, you know a restaurant, that’s unbelievable. To have this much of a following and still be relevant is kind of unheard of and we are just grateful beyond anything else,” said Khalil.
Although Kahlil said it’s a celebration for his family, he still struggled fighting tears.
“It’s almost as Arnold’s… it’s almost like a magical place,” he teared up, adding that Arnold’s would be hard to replicate.
However, Kahlil said their family story isn’t over in Music City. While his parents retire, he is working on the next chapter with a cookbook in the works and plans to open his own spot, saying much of the food offered at Arnold’s would be served there.
Arnold’s Country Kitchen plans to close Saturday, unless they run out of food.