Nena Arnold

From left, April Witherspoon, Nena Arnold and Stephanie Morgan get food ready to be served Wednesday afternoon in the kitchen of Take Me Back Cafe. Arnold and her husband, Heath Arnold, are the new owners of the restaurant, located at 302 W. Wood St. in downtown Paris. The Arnold family has a deep culinary history as their relatives operated the former Knott’s Landing on North Poplar Street through 2011. After being raised by two generations of restaurant owners, Nena Arnold said she is well poised to take over Take Me Back Cafe.

Take Me Back Cafe in Paris officially has new ownership, with Nena and Heath Arnold buying the restaurant from Steven Scott, who had been its owner since 2013. The transition became official on the first day of the new year.

The transition won’t bring too many changes to the downtown diner, located at 302 W. Wood St. The many portraits of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe will still hang on the walls and people can still get breakfast at noon if they like. 

The only real difference is the Arnolds adding new items to the menu. These new dishes bring a bit of heritage and revive a classic Paris eatery that was in the community for decades. That was Knott’s Landing, a restaurant that ran deep in the Arnold family.

Take Me Back Cafe will now be serving the classic catfish dinners that Knott’s Landing used to serve, cooked with the same recipes used by Nena and Heath’s predecessors.

Nena Arnold is the granddaughter of Malcolm and Virginia Knott, the original owners of Knott’s Landing, which opened in 1983 in Paris. Nena’s parents, Terry Knott and Gwen Knott, also owned the restaurant briefly beginning in 2005.

Knott’s Landing was best known for its catfish dishes, which won The Post-Intelligencer Readers’ Choice award for best catfish in town five years in a row before closing down in 2009. The Knotts briefly reopened the restaurant in 2011, but it closed for good shortly after. 

Nena has worked at Take Me Back Cafe for about seven years, serving in a managerial position the past two years. Now she and her husband Heath have an opportunity to continue the Knott family legacy by bringing back some of the old restaurant’s beloved dishes.

“It’s a big dream come true to be able to revive the family legacy, we’re really excited to bring back some of the old recipes,” said Nena Arnold.

Other classic Knott’s Landing dishes that will now be served at Take Me Back Cafe include the vinegar coleslaw, hush puppies, potato salad and the Knott’s Burger, a double cheeseburger made with a family recipe.

Take Me Back Cafe is also now offering a family style fish dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, where people can begin dining with various side dishes before enjoying a fish entree.

“You’ll basically be eating as soon as you walk through the door,” said Heath Arnold.

Take Me Back Cafe’s menu and hours of operation will otherwise remain the same, with all-day breakfast continuing to be a staple. The Arnolds have also added an all-you-can-eat breakfast plate special on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The cafe’s phone number is 642-1952.

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