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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Kahlil Arnold


Arnold's Country Kitchen

Regular customers at Arnold’s Country Kitchen not only have access to home-cooking, they’ve had a front row seat to home life as they watched Kahlil Arnold grow up. Son of meat-n-three legend Jack Arnold, Kahlil had his first official taste of the business at age 13 when his father—determined to teach him strong work ethic and the bones of the business from the ground up—had him washing pots in the back. After his on-the-job education, Kahlil went to college and left the family business for a stint working the front of the house at the legendary Loveless Cafe. But at age 28, as his father began to age and the family business needed him, Kahlil felt the call to head home to the restaurant to run the place with his mother, Rose. Now Kahlil often does the watching as his longtime customers have married and raised children of their own.

Kahlil picked up his chops in the kitchen from longtime cooks, busboys, and of course his father. And though he keeps one foot firmly planted in the tradition of the place with mainstays on the menu like the roast beef and turnip greens, you’ll also find Kahlil’s personal spin on dishes as he carries Arnold’s Country Kitchen into the future.

Date of interview:
2012-05-14 00:00

Interviewer:
Jennifer Justus

Photographer:
Jennifer Justus

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