In 1965 the first Arni's opened at Market Square Shopping Center in Lafayette by Arni Cohen. Originally seating 120 diners, the restaurant's popularity forced several expansions over the years to its current capacity of almost 500.
Through the years, several more Arni's opened in various communities throughout Indiana. Most of these were smaller stores with an emphasis on carryout service. In the summer of 1988, Arni opened his second full service operation, this time with his oldest son Kurt, who had been managing restaurants in Chicago with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises. Seating capacity at this store is almost 300 diners. This brought the total number of restaurants to five.