Arnold’s is an institution in Nashville. Opened in 1982 by Jack and Rose Arnold, now their children run the place. It has received acclaim from many publications like Southern Living, SAVEUR, and Bon Apetit and been featured on Diners, Drive in and Dives. They received the James Beard Award in 2009. It is a cafeteria style restaurant but don’t let that mislead you. Food is made in house and in real southern style with fresh ingredients. Their most popular order is meat and 3 sides. The roast beef is a signature offering but the vegetables are well regarded. We got there early to avoid the line but there is a parking lot adjacent to the building if you drive. Presently they are only at 50% capacity due to Covid and there are less tables available. Cutlery is plastic, napkins are in a dispenser and salt and pepper are in packets as are other condiments. They now have a bar where you can get cocktails or other alcoholic beverages but it didn’t appear to be open yet. Servers on the line were helpful and friendly and well masked.
We got one tray with the famous roast beef, cauliflower casserole, turnip greens, white beans and cornbread. Also a piece of chess pie for dessert. The white beans were not too highly seasoned but very tender and nice. The turnip greens were a combination of turnip and collard with a chunk of pork in them. They were tasty, tender and well seasoned. Cauliflower casserole was creamy with small bits of cauliflower in it. It was sweet and good. The roast beef was super tender with a few bits of rare meat mixed in to the thin slices. It had some natural juices on it that kept it moist and really enhanced the beefy flavor. Chess pie was very sweet with a crust of lard not butter, flakey and tender. The pudding like interior had lots of grit but overall it was too sweet for me.
The other tray was a 4 vegetable one with green beans, macaroni and cheese, fried green tomatoes, corn pudding and cornbread. Dessert was bread pudding. The green beans were well cooked and seasoned. The tender beans had a strong seasoning of ham or bacon. The mac n cheese was creamy, not at all gummy with a touch of red pepper spice to it – just enough to give it a bit of zip. Fried green tomatoes were crisp with tart tomatoes inside. They stayed crisp throughout the meal. The corn pudding was sweet with a yummy flavor. It was delicious. Cornbread was in a muffin and crisp on the exterior and moist on the inside. It was not crumbly. I wanted every bit of it. Bread pudding was served warm with a creamy sauce. There was lots of cinnamon in the bread, which was moist and sweet. It was best with a bit of the sauce. A nice mix of outer and inside pieces.