As far as meat and three restaurants in Nashville go, Arnold's Country Kitchen has earned the reputation as the go-to spot in town. The best pro-tip I can give you for eating at Arnold's is to plan ahead, because the doors open at 10:30 a.m., and by the time lunch starts calling your name, the line is out the door and across the parking lot.
Arnold's, like many meat and threes around Nashville, has walls adorned with autographed photos of famous people who have dined there. I'm not sure if there's a playbook on this when it comes to opening a meat and three, but that seems to be a staple of the decor and definitely part of the fun. It's great to see a picture of what appears to be the local weekend weather man from 20 years ago still maintaining his small celebrity on these walls. But at Arnold's, it's a little different. Between the autographed picture of Jim Varney and a random bulletin board is... a James Beard Award in a frame.
The food at Arnold's is like the old Hank Williams Jr. song, A Family Tradition. For decades, Jack Arnold was the man behind the counter. Jack is, as they say, "Southern as the day is long." He brought himself and his family to the restaurant world with a core tenant in mind: make it from scratch just like he was taught as a boy. That love and attention was passed down to his son, Khalil, who now runs the day-to-day operation.
Eating at Arnold's begins and ends with the roast beef. That's the house specialty, and while I've been to Arnold's many times, there's an inner conflict that happens every time I order. Do I get adventurous and try something different this time? Or do I stick with what I know is great? Most of the time I'm walking away with roast beef. From there, I went with the fried green tomatoes, the mashed potatoes and the turnip greens. Basically, the order here is roast beef and fried green tomatoes. Oh and sweet tea, don't forget that. Plus maybe some chocolate pie. You get the idea.