Run, don’t walk, to Arnold’s Country Kitchen (605 8th Ave. S., 615/256-4455, Mon.–Fri. 10:30 a.m.–2:45 p.m., $7–10) for some of the best Southern cooking in town. Set in a red cinder-block building on the southern outskirts of downtown, Arnold’s is a food-lover’s dream. No haute or fusion cuisine here—this is real food! It’s set up cafeteria style, so start out by grabbing a tray while you peer at the wonders before you: chocolate pie, congealed salad (that’s Jell-O to those who don’t know), juicy sliced tomatoes, turnip greens, mashed potatoes, squash casserole, macaroni and cheese—and that’s just the “vegetables.”
Choose a vegetable plate, with either three or four vegetables, or a meat-and-three for just about a buck more. Common meat dishes include ham, baked chicken, fried fish, and beef tips. All meals come with your choice of pillowy yeast rolls or corn bread. The full lunch, plus a drink, will run you under $10. As you leave, full and happy, the only question on your mind will be, When can I come back?
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition