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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Waited way too long to go

I am embarrassed to say it, having lived in Nashville as long as I have. It was not done intentionally. I am not even sure why it was done. It just sort of happened that way.

I am sure I'm not the only one, but for a guy who is in my situation, it is almost inexcusable and I hate to have to admit this to you. I mean, can you imagine if the person who started Hallmark Greeting Cards never sent an anniversary card to his wife? Or, what if you heard that Sam Walton never visited the WalMart in Bentonville, Arkansas? Wouldn't that seem a little bit odd to you?

Make no mistake, I don’t put myself in the same league as Sam Walton (don’t earn quite that amount …yet, and I am still breathing), but I have done something – rather, “not” done something – that might seem just as odd as one of those examples. Keep in mind that I created a web site called MEATandTHREE.com [http://www.meatandthree.com].

Since coming to Nashville to attend college in the early 80’s (okay, 1980), I have never been to Arnold’s Country Kitchen [http://www.meatandthree.com/tn/arnoldscountrykitchen/]. Not one time. Not for lunch. Not for breakfast. Not once. I have been by there several times. Have taken pictures of the place. Even submitted an article about it.

I have also had quite a number of people who have told me I need to go: family members… people I have worked with…folks I have gone to church with…parents of a kid who played ball with my kid. You know the drill. And yet, all these years it has been one of those places I had just not been to – for whatever reason. Kind of strange, huh.

You know where this is going, don’t you! A few days ago, a friend and I made our way over to 8th Avenue, just below where it splits with Lafayette Street, a couple or three blocks from the I-40/I-65 overpass. We pulled into the parking lot, found a spot in the overflow section, and hurried in. It was about 11:15 on Friday when we arrived, and not a moment too soon. The line moved pretty quickly as we made selections from several meat options and a variety of vegetable choices, but that line soon flowed out the door. And, let me tell ya, it was one of those hot, heat-wave days when a person did not want to be standing outside!

If you have read any of my blog articles, you know that I don’t do actual food reviews. I’ll tell you what I eat, and what the person(s) along with me choose to eat, but I leave it to you to make your own decision. Every person has their own opinions, like and dislikes – so I give you some information about the particular “meat and three”, relay a bit of its story sometimes, and challenge you to try it out for yourself. See what “you” think about it. See how daring you are.

Some meat and three restaurants are not necessarily in the best sections of town, you know. Of course, perception plays into that “best section of town” thing, doesn’t it?! But, don’t let fear of the unknown or the unfamiliar keep you from visiting one of these most American institutions!

I think people really miss out on some awesome food as well as some wonderful opportunities to rub shoulders with a myriad of personalities from all walks of life when they never visit a "meat-n-three". Arnold’s is no exception. There was absolutely just about every type of person you would think of seeing. Probably somebody famous, too, and I am not just talking about all the celebrities on the walls.

Arnold’s was a whole lot of what you think of, when you think of one of those great places that serves the kind of home-cooked food that you remember from “back in the day”. It’s definitely a place that you should not wait over 27 years to go visit (actually, I’m not sure when they started – maybe someone can enlighten me). As a matter of fact, you should go sooner rather than later. Maybe tomorrow if you are in town. Just look for the bright red building with a whole lot of cars in the parking lot.

Now, having said all that, making a big deal about it ... can you believe there is "another" venerable Nashville meat-and-three institution that I have not visited?

Stay tuned…

Phil Roberson (mn3guy)

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