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Posted by on Mar 7, 2014 | 4 comments

Eat Local: The Rail in Canton, Ohio

Eat Local: The Rail in Canton, Ohio

Canton has its share of dining gems, but they’re often tucked away in our city’s nooks and crannies – off the beaten path or scattered on street corners in the downtown district.

So when word spread that local restaurateur Mike Mariola was opening his third location of the RAIL at Belden Village Mall – ground zero for chain restaurants and big-name retailers – I CHEERED at the news…and an entire contingent of local foodies cheered along with me. The Rail has had the good fortune of building a sizable fan club here in Canton thanks to their first location at Akron/Summit Mall.

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Breaking the ‘Chain’

The Rail serves up fancy burgers, dressed-up fries, craft beers and decadent milkshakes {Nutella crunch, anyone?}, with one important distinction from your average burger joint: their products are locally-sourced whenever and wherever possible.

Ohio-grown beef, Ohio-brewed beers, Ohio-distilled vodka, Ohio-cured bacon, Ohio-raised chickens, even Ohio-laid eggs. These ingredients are better, fresher, and most importantly, tastier. And they’re not mere indulgences either. They’re good for the local economy & environment.

The Burgers

The RAIL burger with swiss, sauteed onions, and mushrooms

Essential to the Rail experience is ordering one of their 1/2 pound specialty burgers, made with 100% Ohio-sourced beef. In my {many} visits to Akron – and now Canton – I’ve had most of them {let’s keep that between us}, and while none of them disappoint, I have my favorites. I’m a blue cheese fanatic, so my hands-down fave is the Greenwich Pig: sauteed onions, blue cheese, lots o’ spinach and mayo. It’s exceptionally MESSY, and your bottom bun may be compromised, but I guarantee you won’t care once you dig in. I’ve even subbed a veggie patty on occasion, and it’s still fabulous. {Note to the two vegetarians reading this: they make a VERY good house-made veggie patty.}

Futureman swears by the Bootlegger – a classic combo of BBQ, cheddar and fried onions. I think it’s the Texan in him.  A close second for both of us is the Local Yokel – topped with Ohio thick-cut bacon, swiss cheese and a drippy fried egg. Again, messy, delicious, and all-local from top-to-bottom-bun. A cult favorite with serious carnivores is the Crouching Burger Hidden Bacon: beef, pork shoulder, bacon and a few crispy wontons for good show. Best not to see the nutritional info on that one.

For less adventurous eaters {ahem, my kids….on most days}, the Rail offers a good ol’ fashioned cheeseburger, dressed any way you want it.

The Sides

The Rail does skinny fries {in terms of cut, not calories…sorry ladies}, sweet potato fries and truffle fries. My go-to side is the sweet potato fries. HOWEVER, our table shared an order of blue truffle chips off the monthly menu – house-made potato chips with white truffle oil and blue cheese. What the chips lacked in presentation {see below} was forgiven as soon as we dug in. So freakin’ addictive.

The Beer + Cocktails

The bar at the Canton location, stocked with local liquors

How am I just now getting to the beer? A great burger needs a great beer, and the Rail offers over 20 handles on draft, all from Ohio breweries like Fat Head’s, Lagerheads, Columbus Brewing and Great Lakes.  Futureman and I make a point to try to something new every time; it’s a great way to try a beer before investing in a six-pack. That’s how we discovered the fantastic Columbus Brewing Co.’s IPA, which gets a 97 on RateBeer. There’s probably 20 or so beers by the bottle as well, and while they offer Bud Light, I wouldn’t want to be ‘that guy’ and order one.

Things stay similarly local when it comes to cocktails. I noticed the Canton location has a shelf of Watershed liquors behind the bar. Watershed is a small-batch artisan-quality distiller of vodka, gin and bourbon out of Columbus, Ohio. We splurge on a bottle at home occasionally {Futureman loves their small-batch bourbon}, and wow, it’s some good-quality hooch. Highly recommend trying it out at the Rail, then getting a bottle at home.

The Vibe

It’s hard not to like the vibe at the Rail. It’s modern, industrial, and dare I say, butcher-shop chic. They ‘theme it out’ {to borrow a phrase from work} with cool oversized light fixtures, their signature cow, and a ‘rail’ with butcher hooks above the bar. Their website, branding, and brick-and-mortar restaurants have a very specific and consistent look and feel {many restaurants fail on this score}, which as a marketer I appreciate. It also looks like they’ll be doing events at the Canton location. Really hoping I can get in as a charter member of their Beer Exploration Society and geek out on hops with my fellow beer enthusiasts. :)

The RAIL
4347 Belden Village Mall
Canton, OH 44718

On the web: www.therailburger.com
And on Facebook

The RAIL on Urbanspoon

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4 Comments

  1. ate there three times and twice they were overcooked. price too much for this . when we left three people in the grill area all three talking and not paying attention to their job. Too bad your cooks are not as efficient as your waiting staff who are great. James Ungashick

  2. Another gift from Wooster, OH to Canton. Now you need to meet up with us at the parent of The Rail – The City Square Steakhouse! Great steaks and burgers from Louie’s Local Meats (aka The Butcher at the Spoon Market) as well as THE BEST seafood bisque you have ever tasted!

  3. Good to know that I ordered your favorite burger on my first try. It was delicious! Way better than the famous B-spot, in my opinion.

    • Agree, Bite Buff…I’d pick the Rail over B-Spot any day!

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