The Rail
 Strongsville, Ohio       Date of Visit: 08/06/16

Some upfrontness to start. I know someone in the organization. I have actually been to the Fairlawn location since our original visit (before they were connected), but didnít want to step on toes or feel as though I should compromise my opinion. We are stopping in for the soft opening, which puts them more at risk, but I was welcomed to scribble my thoughts. All I can say is Iíll be as honest as I know how, which is often more so than most think appropriate. In fact, Iím still catching hell at home for ridiculing the use of cottage cheese in lasagna. So here goes.



The new location is pretty slick. Similar interior to the Fairlawn shop, modern, relaxed with a bit of edge to the furnishings and staff. There is also a patio and seating area outside with a glass fire pit for more communal waiting for a seat or imbibing. Hey, fire is cool.

Our server was both friendly and nice (there is a difference) and had most of the menu down to a T. He did well with the adults and the kids, and the adult kids (you know who you are). They are flat out packed but there arenít many signs of struggle on the floor, and you would have to know and be looking for them to notice. Not easy to do when you are still pulling teams together. On my return visit to Fairlawn I found some of the things I had complained about from the menu clearly addressed. The same was true if not better this trip. Honestly.

They source everything from O!-H! (you know the rest), including the adult beverages. I think they offer tastings or flights in two different sizes depending on how much your interested in trying and if you might be driving later. I started with some Bourbon, cause Iím a ĎMerican with their Smash, featuring Watershed Distillery bourbon, bitters, and citrus, nothing wrong with that. I asked about dark beers and was told they had a couple of porters, one sweet, one coffee. Some flavorings in beer are so ethereal you find yourself wondering if you are tasting or imagining them. Not so with the wonderfully bitter and coffee studded pour here. As we moved on to the menu, it seems they have been moving to more forward flavors than I remember, Iím a fan.


Ohio Bourbon

Ohio Brew


We ordered a bevy from the apps/sides section. Fries of many stripes, skinny, sweet, truffle, chips, all of which are well prepared and seasoned. Still a fan their fries, but even more so of the cups of sharp and aggressive sauces served alongside. Who needs ketchup? I do like my goop, especially unique and memorable goop. I had a different reaction to the mac and cheese bites, Iíve never really been wowed by anyoneís version, concept = heaven; product = meh. The gouda is a nice touch but not enough to woo me. A dunk in the buffalo ranch dip they arrived with, would improve lots of things. I wanted to steal it for my onion rings. Speaking of which, the onion rings (which I had lambasted in Fairlawn) were fantastically improved. Crispy but not greasy. Exterior clung fiercely to the tender and sweet onion. Doneness of the vegetable itself allowed for a clean bite through without the rest of the ring trailing out of one side or the other. 1000 times better than when I tried them years ago. Roasted red hummus was a nice lighter option, but I would probably stick to the fryer.

Chipotle In The Dip Is Excellent With Sweet Taters

Their Fries Have Always Been Well Done


Same When Truffle Oil & Parm Come To Play

Rings SOOOO Much Better


Gouda Is Nice Touch But Still Looking For M&C Bites To Pine Over

Red Pepper Hummus Wasn't Bad At All

We were going to try a couple of different sandwiches but they were out of bbq pork so we ended up with tastes of a couple of burgers and their southern style chicken sandwich. Southern, in that itís fried and served with slaw and pickles. Chicken was moist and surrounded by dark crunch. Iím not a sweet pickle kinda guy but the bread and butter chips had enough tang to offset the sweet. Good, but the place is really geared to cow sandwich. The beef is ground coarsely for texture and arrives with a tasty dark brown coat. Still good. There were a range of temps ordered at the table and they were all on the nose, quite an accomplishment for a soft opening. The Blue Bessie is topped with sweet spinach, funky cheese, earthy mushrooms, spiced fried onions and a biting horseradish sauce, which set everything off with quite a blast. Iím a fan. The 7th Heaven burger has a sweet/acidic red onion jam, thick rashers of bacon and the residue of truffle butter. The butter had melted and soaked mostly into the bottom bun and just reeked of intensely shroomy truffle. I would do this over and over.


Some South For Your Mouth

Piles Of Flavor On Blue Bessie With A Blast Of Horseradish


Deceptively Simple Looking 7th Heaven Ooozes Happiness

Temps Were On The Money Around The Table

Theyíre burgers and taters have been good. The onion rings up to match compared to my first trip. What I did not expect to find was ridiculously tasty twist on a classic dessert. In days of yore, holidays with our family would include two kinds of pie, pumpkin and pecan. Mom provided pumpkin, an aunt the pecan. The Rail has taken on a woman who I think started making pies at home and now provides all the various locations with heaven in a dish. Pecan pie will never be the same. Hereís what makes herís different from my prototype and also what makes herís fantastic.

The same bits of wonderfully roasted nuts are suspended over sweet egg and sugar goo, contained in a crust. First difference, the pie is much sweeter than the one I grew up with, but in this case is expertly offset with a formidable blast of salt in the crust. If youíre a fan of salted caramel or chocolate bacon or the like, you know what Iím talking about. Disparate elements start by challenging each other, but in harmony elevate each other instead. Then there is the aforementioned sugar & egg goo. Sorry, didnít mean to use such a technical baking term, mixture then.

Realignment Of My Beliefs About Pecan Pie


I remember a hazy, thick, gelatinous layer between the nuts and crust. Not here. There is a clear light brown suspension that oozes like lava. Iíve never contemplated how dinosaurs might have been captured in amber, now I have and I understand. Just warmly creeping towards you, sweet and inviting, lay down, have a nap, everything little thing is gonna be alright, welcome to Jurassic Park. Add a splash of Watershed Bourbon and you have something we have now talked about for a week. True confession: there might be a whole pie in our fridge right now....but not for long. I donít know if this pie offering is seasonal. If it is run.

Find the closest Rail, find an array of local adult beverages, find serious burgers (or chicken) with more assertive sauces and toppings, always well-done range of tater options, well done onion rings (see if you can get the buffalo ranch dip on the side if you like things spicier than the red pepper sauce), and even if you are as stuffed as I was, get some pie! Itís all from Buckeyes, and itís for you. Course, I might be biased, or not, you decide.




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