Arnold’s Country Kitchen is a meat-and-three on Eighth Avenue, and it is a crossroads for Nashville.
Recently, the governor of Tennessee sat in the corner in deep conversation with a man who had clearly brought the giant flat of strawberries that sat on the table. Was it the berry lobby at work? A fruity tribute? Country star Tim McGraw has been seen clearing trays off tables. A platoon of Army soldiers pretty much shut the place down, there was so much hand-shaking and thanking going on from everybody in the restaurant.
You see all sorts of people, but at some point, everybody is united by the need to take a deep breath and groan. Banana pudding will do that to a person.
Cement block building, cafeteria service, a line out the door most of the time. John Prine 8 x 10s next to many, many 8 x 10s of Chet Atkins. A framed medal, their James Beard Award for Excellence, hangs across from a poster of Tanya Tucker in her swamp woman bikini shot. (OK, I’ll go find it for you. Here you go.) A kind customer took a picture of the menu, so you can see what’s up before you go if you’re obsessive.
The recent expansion has many of us wondering how it’s going to feel to have more room.
Anybody coming to Nashville, please call and I will go to Arnold’s with you. I may have a teenager in tow, but his reverence for Arnold’s only adds to the experience.
This video gives you a taste of the scene.