One of Nashville’s most influential people in the cities culinary scene has passed away. Jack Arnold, founder of Arnold’s Country Kitchen, a popular meat-and-three that closed earlier this year after 40 years in business, has died. The news was announced on social media.
Born in 1937, in a “three-room house with no water or electricity, tucked inside the Blue Ridge Parkway outside Asheville, North Carolina,” Arnold was appropriately born on a kitchen table, a “fitting beginning for a man whose life was dedicated to food and service,” the obituary reads.
Arnold attended Vandrbilt University on a scholarship, but paid his bills by working in the Rand Cafeteria, where his love and knowledge of working in restaurants began.
“In 1983, while working for Lynn Chandler, the owner of Elliston Place Soda Shop and the Sylvan Park Restaurant, Jack purchased one of Chandler’s other properties on 8th Avenue South,” the obituary explains. “That would become Arnold’s Country Kitchen and grow to become one of city’s brightest and most celebrated beacons for southern fare in a city known for meat and threes.”
Jack Arnold (1937-2023)
Jack Arnold was born in a three-room house with no water or electricity, tucked inside the Blue…
Married to his wife, Rose, who took over Arnold’s with their son, Kahlil in 2012, Arnold became known as much for his outgoing personality as his unforgettable food.
“Jack’s personality cast a wide net of the city’s who’s who, from musicians and authors like Chet Atkins, Shel Silverstein and Gore Vidal, to local judges and public works employees, often sharing the same table and marveling at his turnip greens,” the obituary states. “Many would become his treasured fishing buddies, as few people enjoyed being out on the water and wetting a line as much as Jack.”
Arnold is survived by his wife Rose, nine children, and “a whole mess of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
When announcing Arnold’s closure, Rose expressed sadness at the end of an era, while also joy at the four decades they had at the helm of one of Nashville’s most iconic restaurants.
“We’ve been the luckiest people on earth. I feel like I have angels that look over us. It’s been an amazing ride — just wonderful,” Rose told the Nashville Scene. “ “It’s never been easy, working from 6:00 in the morning until the last person left, but people appreciate it. I hear it every day. We have met some of the most amazing, genuinely kind people through this business, from suppliers to country music stars to politicians, really all of our customers. It gives you a sense that humanity is good. People have been so good to us through the years, but I’m ready to retire. It’s been 40 years.”
Funeral services have not been announced. Everything Nash extends our deepest condolences to the Arnold family.