Not surprisingly, there are few things that excite me more than 1) the prospect of a new (original) restaurant, and 2) a great burger. Thanks to one of my readers (never thought I’d be saying that), I heard about a cool new burger bar in Akron. The Rail at Summit Mall is creating some buzz and has the potential to carve out a niche for itself in the Akron food scene.
The Rail gets major credit for the amount of time and energy that was obviously spent on branding, something that often gets the cold shoulder from restaurateurs in this area. But this does not go unnoticed, especially for people like us, whose first impression is made on the website almost as often as the front door. This was especially true with The Rail, since I learned about it from a fellow foodie’s recommendation – of course the first thing I did was go to the website to check out the menu. The Rail’s website does a great job of conveying the message: local burgers made with Ohio beef. Simple and unpretentious, but also very informative; one trip to the website told me that this place was oozing with style. Plus, it made me hungry.
Again, simple menu design, no mess, no frills.
Kudos number two is for the interior design. Yes, the food is important, but it’s an all-around experience that keeps people coming back. Again with the branding, the restaurant’s name is a reference to the butcher’s rail, which is appropriately replicated over the bar, meat hooks and all. Other highlights of the interior environment include an impressive solid concrete bar with exposed rebar, which looks like it was salvaged from an old building or bridge somewhere. Also of note are a collection of artistic but minimalist light fixtures, most of which have exposed bulbs to support the industrial feel.
Hanging above the pass-through to the semi-open kitchen is a graphic of a cow, whose various “areas” are covered with names of counties in northeast Ohio. Very clever, as are the names of the different burgers on the menu – apart from being artistic, creative, and original in their use of non-traditional burger toppings, they all have quirky names. Personal favorite name: Crouching Tiger: Hidden Bacon, a beef patty topped with bacon, pork shoulder, crispy wonton, and special sauce, shown here:
I die for a good shoestring fry; love ’em when they’re crisp and maintain their shape. These were great, and the portion was ideal for sharing.
This was me, Mr. Mariola. I’m definitely a little predictable at times with my ordering, which I should really work on. Then again, I like what I like. Can’t help but gravitate toward all things tomato and fresh mozzarella. This beautiful burger was also dressed with a basil pesto to pull together the caprese-esque vibe.
Juicy and perfectly pink. I will admit that the nuances of the fresh mozeralla are lost a little with all that burger flavor, but the pesto and fresh tomato really shine. All in all, an excellent burger, and not so large that you’re stuck in a food coma for the rest of the day. Nope, this was juuuuust right.
Apparently The Rail is owned by the same chef who owns South Market Bistro and The City Square Steakhouse in Wooster, so you know I’ll be bloggin’ bout them soon too…stay tuned.