Burgers, Beer and....Milkshakes?
Opened just last summer in the Summit Mall shopping plaza, The Rail has quickly become a destination spot for outstanding burgers and tasty drinks. Located next door to the equally popular but significantly cheesier P.F. Chang’s, The Rail prides itself on locally sourced meat and Ohio-made beers.
Presenting a decked-out warehouse atmosphere, The Rail is a 75-seat establishment that, in addition to burgers and beers, also offers salads and milkshakes. Those in the mood for a healthier night can munch on veggie burgers instead. Chef Mike Mariola, who also owns two successful eateries in Wooster, South Market Bistro and the City Square Steakhouse, does things right yet again with The Rail.
To start things off, I ordered a Hippie IPA. Buckeye Brewing Company’s best-selling beer, Hippie IPA is rich in malt and chock-full of hops, giving the brew a very West Coast feel. Hopped five times with a combination of Northern Brewer and Cascade hops, Hippie IPA has become a go-to beer for many Clevelanders. The Bedford Heights brewery, run by the same folks who created the beer mecca Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood, was an appropriate choice to start at The Rail.
Not much is widely known about my second beer, Rampant Lion, from the somewhat unknown brewery Little Mountain in Kirtland, Ohio. Not unlike Brew Kettle, Little Mountain offers a brew-on-premises option and features its own beers on draft, as well. Rampant Lion is one of these. A Scottish ale clocking in at 7%, the beer leaves a sweet, malty taste with some nice bitterness.
To eat, I decided on the Greenwich Pig, a completely self-indulgent burger piled with caramelized onions, blue cheese, spinach and The Rail’s own mayo. An order of thin-cut Skinny Fries was just the right size to fill my stomach.
Next up was Lagerheads’ Bed Head Red, a 5.9% layered ale with caramel and hints of roasted malt. Though begun as a restaurant eight years ago, Lagerheads became a locally loved brewery in 2010. The Medina company has crafted an effective red ale here, and I look forward to trying other offerings if The Rail continues to highlight their beers.
To end the night, I split a bottle of Rockmill’s Saison with the missus. The beloved beer style known as saison, the French word for “season,” was originally named after a refreshing low-alcohol ale brewed seasonally in Belgian farmhouses. Rockmill Brewery in Lancaster, Ohio, follows in the footsteps of other saisons, and I found it enjoyable. Though a tad expensive, the Rockmill Saison comes in a 750-ml. bottle, making it worth the somewhat steep price tag. Think a nice bottle of wine — that’s how satisfying and long-lasting this brew can be. Rockmill uses all organic ingredients for their brews, and their saison is a great introduction to their repertoire.
The Rail also hosts monthly beer classes for those looking for an introduction to local breweries. Last month, the restaurant dedicated a night to Ohio Brewing. For this month’s class on April 12, The Rail will offer an evening with Buckeye Brewing owner Garin Wright. Two sessions will be offered, at 6 and 7:30 p.m., and admission is $12. Advance tickets are required; the night will include the tasting of five beers along with bar appetizers.
The Rail is open seven days a week till either 10 or 11 p.m. Beer enthusiasts and locavores alike will find plenty to love here.