The Rail
 Akron, Ohio       Date of Visit: 12/30/11

A change in the weather necessitated a quick trip to a place I try to avoid, the mall. Our current baseball gear being obsolete; the mall is the only place around here where we could be outfitted quickly at this time of the day. While Steph was effecting procurement I noticed a number of folks moving in and out of a new front with a sign outside that looks like an upside down cow and reads The Rail.


Sweet and Spicy Duck Wings

Hanging out in the car I looked up their website and found they focus on burgers featuring local ingredients. We were there within a week. It was surprisingly nice inside although it is a particularly small space for that kind of mall traffic but we were able to find a seat quickly.

Service was friendly and on the ball. It seemed the kitchen was lagging as it took quite a bit to get three burgers out to the table. We started with the monthly app which were duck wings. A bit bigger than the chicken variety they were doused with a sweetened chipotle sauce that started out really well balanced and finished with a nice kick towards the end.

We tried the tomato basil soup, the standard rail burger, the crouching tiger-hidden bacon, and the monthly special the bison burger. The soup was reportedly “very good” but not “very, very good.” What was particularly liked about it was the texture with small nuggets of the veggies remaining in the soup. What probably kept it from the double very was the basil being a little too assertive.


Good Tomato Basil

The Rail Burger with Skinny Fries


Functional Crouching Tiger Hidden Bacon (Is It Really Hiding???)

The rail burger was also reportedly a good burger but difficult to eat with all of the slippery toppings, which is how I like mine…pile it on. The crouching tiger hidden bacon burger was okay at best by my estimation. Topped with bacon, pork shoulder, crispy wontons and a special sauce which were all good the burger itself didn’t come together for me. Thick rashers of bacon, the pork was nicely smoked, I couldn’t detect the special sauce there was just something missing or one ingredient too many, the sum was less than the total of it’s parts.

The bison burger was another story. Great patty, well prepared and topped with onion jam, the same thick bacon and a cascade of melted Boursin cheese. A much better combo that made for a great burger. Unfortunately, the onion rings were a complete waste. Greasy, breading sliding off of every circle, ho-hum flavor, I wouldn’t do those again.


Boursin Oozes Out Of The Bison Special

Peering Into Two Different Burgers


The fries are “skinny” and pretty good but become something special with the truffle variety. Pronounced truffliness, large swatches of parmesan cheese, awesome. I was tasting truffle two hours later. It was mentioned that the skinny fries are more work than a regular cut but that might not be a bad thing as your brain has a chance to tell you you’re full before you have shoveled everything on your plate into your gullet. We didn't try the desserts because Scott Conant was generous enough to publish the recipe for his unbelievable Caramel Budino which we headed home to indulge in (recipe here) simple but extraordinary.

The rail does turn local fare into mostly really good burgers and sides in a nice spot with loads of foot traffic. The burgers are different without being so weird they might scare most folks. Much like but better than Heck's Cafe in Cleveland I would likely go back if I am in the area but nothing would compel me to go out of my way. Except maybe the truffle fries.

Truffle Fries with Parm Are The Way to Go




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