Winning One for Ohio: Mojo Burger Earns Best in Show

On the heels of National Puppy Day, we can’t help but think about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Now we know what you’re thinking, what does this have to do with burgers? Just stay with us.


Cute, cuddly dogs trot around and jump over hurdles. Their owners frantically search for the Busy Bee (Christopher Guest reference, anyone?). Countless hours of training, hard work and dedication lead to one glorious moment – the coveted Best in Show Award. Well, the Burger Wars competition is our Kennel Club Dog Show, and our Mojo Burger took home Best in Show!


Maybe that analogy was a little far-fetched, but you get what we mean. We were with great company in the Feast Awards finals, and we’re ridiculously excited our burger was such a hit!


A little background about the event: Every March, About, Stark County’s premiere lifestyle magazine, presents their Annual Feast Awards with the staff’s top picks for local dining, including categories such as Best Lunch, Best Coffee, Best Pizza and, you guessed it, Best Burger. This year, About magazine decided to mix things up with ‘Burger Wars,’ focusing on an American classic, and The Rail came to play.


Like the dog show, the top honor, the number one, the crème de la crème, is Best in Show, which we might have mentioned already… was snatched up by our very own Mojo Burger! Chef Hawks and the awesome kitchen team in Canton put together this delectable, mouth-watering creation for the competition, and we can’t thank them enough.


Best served Medium-Well with a side of Truffle Fries, the judges remarked that the Mojo Burger was selected much in part to its creativity and flavor, and they especially loved that the burger’s ingredients were Ohio-focused. That unique combination of andouille sausage and fresh beef is all sourced right here in the heart of it all, and we must say, we love that too. Even better? The Mojo Burger is available all the time as a staple in our Signature Burger Menu!


Barb Abbott, a judge on the About Stark panel, was asked to describe the Mojo Burger in one word, to which she replied “Amazing.” Thank you Barb! And thank you to everyone at About Stark for such high praise and for putting on this wonderful contest.


We’d also like to thank all our loyal RAILavores who inspire us to keep coming up with new locally sourced offerings, as well as our phenomenal team members who work hard every day to provide you with a sensational dining experience. Furthermore, we’d like to thank the entire state of Ohio for being so awesome… Uh oh, looks like we’re out of time – these acceptance speeches always get cut off!


For the full article on Burger Wars, you can visit Until next time, #RAILon!

Skip Work, Drink Beer.


So, it sounds like you're ready for a day off. Get your excuse rehearsed so you can come celebrate March Madness with us at The Rail! To kick off March Madness, enjoy ALL DAY Happy Hour Specials on drinks and appetizers on Thursday, March 16th, and Friday, March 17th, as well as some delicious St. Patrick's Day-inspired food specials. 


We’ve enlisted the help of industry experts to develop a list of some of the best (and worst) excuses to give your boss so you can get an early start to your weekend and enjoy all the fun our Skip Work Party has to offer. When planning for a situation like this, you have to choose what you say wisely, and don't forget about the delivery.  

We all know some of the most common excuses for missing work: “Illness,” “Car troubles,” “Doctor's Appointment,” etc. These may work in some situations, but they also leave you stuck continuing to lie after the fact. How do you respond when someone asks how your doctor’s appointment went or how you got over your illness so fast? 


Think outside the box when you're calling off work - we've even compiled a list of better excuses for you:

  • Child has check-up (if you have children)
    • Please don’t make up fake children - that could come back to haunt you.
  • Someone had to be at home for a major delivery coming (i.e., stove, refrigerator)
  • Family Emergency (No details are needed, and the fewer the better)
  • Major repair needed in home (i.e., pipe burst, furnace broke)
  • Child/Parent sick (No one would want to deny a child or elder attention when they’re sick!)
  • I will be working from home (An easy way to make them think you’re working while still enjoying yourself; only if your job permits)
  • Mental Health Day (In this case, personal time off)
  • Colonoscopy (Trust us, no one is going to question that.)
  • Treating a client for a lunch meeting (you don't even have to lie about your location for this one!)


The most important part about these excuses is to never get too in depth with the details - be as vague as possible so you don't have to remember too much when asked about the day off. It is also very important to always remember to follow proper protocol for calling off, giving as much notice as you can.


For every good excuse, there are equally bad ones you should avoid when calling off:

  • Death in the family (Bad karma aside, this can get tricky, and you may put yourself in a bad place down the road)
  • You’re hungover (We promise you, your boss and co-workers will not consider this a valid excuse)
  • Got arrested (Probably won’t sit well with your employer, and also seems like bad karma)
  • Too tired to come to work (Everyone is tired - also not a valid excuse)
  • Too cold to come to work (Yes, someone has tried it before)



When it comes to calling off, you should always be as honest as possible, but realistically, your boss probably wouldn't give the go-ahead to skip work because you want to drink Ohio Craft Beer, snack on delicious food and watch college basketball, so sometimes you have to get creative. We hope this list included an excuse that's perfect for you, and if not, shoot us a message, and we'll call your boss for you! 

We look forward to spending March Madness with you - you work hard, and you deserve a break (and a beer)!

Earning an A+ in Beer School with Goldhorn Brewery + The End of FeBREWary 2017


Last Wednesday was a good day to be a student.  Although technically, you could say we’ve earned our B.A. in beer tasting because we’ve been slogging down delicious beer all month long.  One moment it’s Columbus-favorite Zaftig Brewing and the next it’s Wolf’s Ridge and Warped Wing.  Bottom line: The second annual #FeBREWary was just as fun as we thought it’d be, with the beer surpassing even our own lofty, hop-induced expectations.  It’s truly good to be an Ohioan.  Bring on 2018!


One of Cleveland’s up-and-coming beer concocters and Rail favorites, Goldhorn Brewery, took to the head of the class for one of FeBREWary’s most exciting Beer School events at Ohio Beer Garden.  Several prominent local writers and bloggers were also in attendance, ready to taste whatever masterful elixir was thrown at them… and the folks at Goldhorn certainly did not disappoint.


On the docket for the evening were four fantastic beers.  First up was the Polka City Pilsner.  Easy drinking, super tasty and their most well-known beer, this refreshing staple features Slovenian hops and a 5.4% ABV.  It’s the kind of beer you could drink all day, not that we would sit around drinking beer all day - who does that? Okay, you got us.  Maybe we do… occasionally.  Let’s move on.



Next up was a witbier dubbed Play that Funky Music.  While not as funky as the name suggests, the guys at Goldhorn thought it’d be fun to throw a little caution to the wind and send the normal brewing rules packing, so they created this delicious witbier that’s slightly darker in color than most beers of the same variety.  Play that Funky Music Witbier is brewed with coriander and orange peel, giving it a few floral notes, while finishing with a touch of clove.  Sounds good, right?  Unfortunately, there are no current plans to brew more of this rule-breaking beer; but don't worry, we know they’ll come up with something else just as good.


Then there was Fire Plug, an unusual, but absolutely stellar smoked pale ale.  Now we know what you’re thinking, a smoked pale ale?  What?  Toss those skeptical thoughts aside, because this brew is phenomenal.  Brewed with Chinook hops, this slightly smoked beer was created to keep people on their toes and their taste buds happy, and that it does. 


Lastly came the St. Clair Stout, which after talking with the Goldhorn brewers, you can tell is close to their heart and directly reflects their motto of, “Beer that defines your neighborhood.”  As the name would suggest, this particular stout represents the area where they live and create.  Subtle characters of cinnamon, ginger and honey are perfectly balanced in this one.  Although not for long, this mellow version of a Christmas-style stout is still available at their tasting room in the Hub55 district of E. 55th St.  Keep your eyes peeled for a special Dry Irish Stout on nitro coming for St. Paddy’s Day as well!


A huge thank you goes out to all of our FeBREWary Beer Exploration Society teachers including Goldhorn Brewery, Wolf’s Ridge Brewing, Fat Head’s Brewery and Watershed Distillery. Cheers!

Also, big thanks go to Lisa Sands from Edible Cleveland who made the trip, as well as Crystal from Eat Drink Cleveland, Doug Bardwell and Rachel from It’s a Hero.  You can keep up with Edible Cleveland on Twitter @edibleCLE and Lisa @LisaSandsCle.  Crystal can be found sharing local Ohio love @EatDrinkCLE, Doug @photodb and Rachel @ItsaHero.  Check them all out if you’re looking for some cool Ohio news!

Flying through FeBREWary with Warped Wing


FeBREWary is going strong at The Rail, Ohio Beer Garden and The City Square Steakhouse. If you’ve stopped in, we’re sure you heard about our featured draft selections, but what you might not have heard about is the story behind our featured FeBREWeries…


This month, it’s safe to say we’ve made a new friend in Warped Wing Brewing Co., a Dayton craft brewery. With a full-scale production brewery in the heart of downtown Dayton (and a self-proclaimed tow motor expert in Co-Founder Nick Bowman), WWBC shares our sense of local pride and is committed to brewing well-crafted beers Daytonians and Ohioans can embrace.

Named after the Wright Bros’ Wing Warping technology, a famous Dayton invention which made controlled flight possible, Warped Wing is inspired by Dayton’s history of innovation and invention and committed to carrying that spirit forward in today’s craft beer scene. Warped Wing has an Industrial-style Tasting Room and distributes their beers to local restaurants, bars and retailers in the Dayton, Cincinnati and Columbus markets, so if you’re a Clevelander who hasn’t had a chance to try their stuff, this month is your chance!


What makes these brews even better than their unique taste is the rich backstory behind each one of them. On tap at The Rail is Warped Wing’s Gamma Bomb IPA. While its taste is bursting with character, so is its inspiration – This IPA plays off Dayton’s fictional character Bruce Banner, otherwise known as “The Hulk!” We’re also serving up their Trotwood Lager. Its retro-style can is designed after a rescued 1957 Trotwood trailer which Warped Wing turned into an event vehicle. This brew is so popular, it recently became a core year-round offering.


Our owner, Mike Mariola, had an awesome time touring the Warped Wing production facility with our new pal Nick Bowman, one of Warped Wing's four Co-Founders.

Our owner, Mike Mariola, had an awesome time touring the Warped Wing production facility with our new pal Nick Bowman, one of Warped Wing's four Co-Founders.

At Ohio Beer Garden and City Square, you’ll find Warped Wing Brewing’s Jolly Tar rye beer, which was recently re-released, incorporating the use of oatmeal and raisins to make a sweeter rye. So far, the revamped Jolly Tar has gotten rave reviews, and we’re excited to hear what you think about it too.

FeBREWary is flying by, but there’s still time to stop in to The Rail in Fairlawn, Canton, North Olmsted or Strongsville, Ohio Beer Garden in North Olmsted, and The City Square Steakhouse in Wooster to try these Warped Wing wonders, as well as featured drafts from Wolf’s Ridge and Zaftig!


What's Brewing for FeBREWary...

The Rail + Rare Ohio Beer + February = FeBREWary

No need to check the math on that equation, FeBREWary is back for a second year. The tried and true formula we came up for last year remains, just with a couple of tweaks.  More beer, more locations and more beer. Wait, did we say more beer twice? Oh well… more beer!


Mike Mariola and his battle-tested confidant, John Emerson, are heading south with a trailer to pick up some rare Ohio brew that will only be available at our locations for the month of February. This year, these delectable concoctions of barley and hops won’t just be available at all four Rail locations, but Ohio Beer Garden in North Olmsted and City Square Steakhouse in Wooster as well. That’s right — We put our heads together and thought it would be a good idea for every single one of our restaurants to partake in FeBREWary. Well, that and we got some pretty nasty texts from the bartenders at City Square about not being involved last year… just kidding!


So, what’s it all mean? It means that whatever part of Ohio you’re in at the moment means you’ll be closer to tasty, rare Ohio beer you’ve never had before. And that's awesome.

Not only are we pumped about Ohio Beer Garden, City Square and The Rail’s Strongsville location being added to the mix, but we’re super stoked about this year’s beer lineup. From Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s Daybreak Cream Ale to Zaftig Brewing’s Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, FeBREWary’s draft lineup has been handpicked by the folks here at The Rail and is nothing short of pure deliciousness. Let’s take a look at the current selections:


FeBREWary Beers Available at The Rail locations:

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Driftwood IPA — 4.6% ABV — 50 IBU — A session IPA with citrus, passion fruit and mango aromas and a toned down bitterness. This combination tones down the bitterness making for one easy drinking IPA. Plus, it’s a staff fave!

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Daybreak Cream Ale — 5% ABV — 14 IBU — This Clear Sky Cream Ale is infused with local roaster One Line coffee and vanilla beans, making for a very robust flavor, yet a subtle, sweet creamy finish.

Warped Wing Brewing Gamma Bomb IPA — 7.2% ABV — 96 IBU — A west coast style IPA that’s very pungent and piney, exploding with up character.

Warped Wing Brewing Trotwood Lager — 4% ABV — 12 IBU — A lager that is cool, crisp, clean and very easy drinking, making for a perfect combo with all of our food choices.

Zaftig Brewing A-Crop Blacklight Stout — 9% ABV — 31 IBU — A dark and malty stout brewed with perle and centennial hops for a robust flavor and aged on vanilla beans for a smooth, slightly sweet finish.


FeBREWary Beers Available at Ohio Beer Garden:

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Hop Smoothie — 4.6% ABV — 40 IBU — This session IPA is infused with fresh orange and lime, and steeped with soft notes of vanilla bean.

Warped Wing Brewing Jolly Tar — 5.7% ABV — 40 IBU — A dark brown ale with aromas of baker’s chocolate and complex flavors of chocolate, raisin and fig, complete with a dry finish.

Zaftig Brewing Wee Heavy Scotch Ale — 10% ABV — 43 IBU — A pronounced caramel malt flavor with a full body and pleasant sweet finish.


FeBREWary Beers Available at City Square Steakhouse:

Zaftig Brewing Wee Heavy Scotch Ale — 10% ABV — 43 IBU — A pronounced caramel malt flavor with a full body and pleasant sweet finish.

Wolf’s Ridge Brewing Driftwood IPA — 4.6% ABV — 50 IBU — A session IPA with citrus, passion fruit and mango aromas and a toned down bitterness. This combination tones down the bitterness making for one easy drinking IPA. We loved this Rail selection so much that we had to bring it to the steakhouse too!

Warped Wing Brewing Jolly Tar — 5.7% ABV — 40 IBU — A dark brown ale with aromas of baker’s chocolate and complex flavors of chocolate, raisin and fig, complete with a dry finish.



Have a question about FeBREWary? Get ahold of us on Facebook or Twitter

September #FarmFeature: Brown Bros. Farms

September #FarmFeature: Brown Bros. Farms

As many of you may know, the Ohio Turkey Burger is back on our menu for September by popular demand. What many of you may not know, however, is where we get our most popular locally sourced items.

The Rail has some really great partnerships with Ohio farmers, each with their own cool story and terrific products, which is why we’d like to share our first-ever #FarmFeature on our free range turkey burgers.

It's Silo Season

It's Silo Season

Our friends over at Lager Heads Brewing Co. in Medina wanted to team up to spread our mutual beer love around NE Ohio. The result is a truly tasty and easy-to-drink beer that's perfect for late summer and the upcoming harvest of silo season.

We're coming for you next, Strongsville

We're coming for you next, Strongsville

Akron...check. North Olmsted...check. Canton...check. Strongsville, you're up. We're stoked to announce plans for our newest addition to the family.

Let's RAIL Against Breast Cancer

Let's RAIL Against Breast Cancer

We're teaming up with Breast Man Walking for the 5th year to get our party on while we raise money for and awareness of breast cancer. Get your tickets for the May 1st shindig --- it's a great cause for great people with great grub and beer.

#febrewary import: Tap & Screw Brewery

#febrewary import: Tap & Screw Brewery

The industrial West Side of Cincinnati is enriched with a lengthy history ofhard workers, heavy duty equipment and, thanks to Tap and Screw Brewery, it also yields some damn good beer. This FeBREWary we’re pouring their All Jacked Up, a vanilla mocha porter laced with Madagascar vanilla & coffee – come in to any location to try it before the kegs blow.

#febrewary import: Fifty West Brewing Co.

#febrewary import: Fifty West Brewing Co.

This FeBREWary we’ve partnered with some downright fantastic Ohio breweries in the Cincinnati craft beer belt. On the eastern outskirts of the Queen City, you can find Fifty West Brewing Company in an old speakeasy along the Little Miami River. This month, we’ll be pouring their “Pepper Beer”---Jalopy Nose Jalapeño Stout until it runs out.

Eatin', drinkin' and watchin'

Eatin', drinkin' and watchin'

It sure would be kick-ass to see an #allOhio team in Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, but we're pretty used to that not being the case. That's not stopping us from watching the big game, and we are looking for some burger-lovin', beer-drinkin' friends to join us.

#febrewary import: Urban Artifact

#febrewary import: Urban Artifact

Since their beers haven’t made their way North before now, we thought you might like to meet some of the breweries behind the drafts. First up is Urban Artifact. We’ll be pouring their Maize Kentucky Common Ale as long as it’s flowing in Canton, Akron and North Olmsted.



This month, The RAIL is putting the BREW into FeBREWary.

We have imported four Ohio craft beers from Cincinnati for our fellow beer lovers. Yep, imported. We basically sent a friend down to Cincinnati to pick up 17 kegs of beer that wouldn’t otherwise be available up here in NE Ohio. We’ll be featuring the different brews at all 3 locations beginning Febrewary 1st until we run out.

60 Miles. 3 Days. 1 Kickin' Party.

60 Miles. 3 Days. 1 Kickin' Party.

Tickets are now on sale at The Rail at Summit Mall for our 4th annual benefit to raise funds for Akron's "Team Breast Man Walking" as they participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. And for those RAILavores not able to make the trek to Akron, both our Canton and North Olmsted locations will be donating a portion of their sales on Sunday, May 3rd to the benefit. So, eat up, drink up and help do something about breast cancer.

Bite me, I'm local.

Bite me, I'm local.

Local food advocacy group, Strolling the Heifers, released the results of the 3rd Annual Locavore Index last week. The index ranks the best (and worst) U.S. states for eating locally based on the # of farmers' markets, CSAs, food hubs and schools with farm-to-school programs.

Vermont takes the top spot for being the most convenient state when it comes to buying and eating locally grown and raised food. That's 3 years in a row for The Green Mountain State, although it leads us to wonder what portion of their total includes maple syrup products.

SPOILER ALERT: Ohio doesn't make the list of top 10 states; in fact, we come in toward the bottom at #37 (at least we're not Texas). But don't fret, you can still eat local as a RAILavore.

For the complete ranking, go to:



We're gonna RAIL Against Breast Cancer


FAIRLAWN, OH – The Rail is teaming up again with Akron natives Kathy & Lee Giller and Nancy Schrader for its third annual “Rail Against Breast Cancer”. This benefit will be held on Sunday, May 18th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Rail in Fairlawn to raise funds for their team’s participation in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to erase breast cancer. 

For the past seven years, the Gillers and Schrader have made it their mission to raise awareness and tens of thousands of dollars to find a cure for a dreadful disease that has hit too close to home more than once.

In 2005, Lee Giller was diagnosed with male breast cancer. After seven years of being cancer-free, Lee is now facing a recurrence. He is battling Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. And just three summers ago, Lee & Kathy’s then 28-year-old daughter, Pamela, was diagnosed.  

Kathy Giller, a relentless fundraiser and dedicated advocate in the fight against this disease, has partnered with The Rail owner, Mike Mariola to help raise critical dollars in finding a cure.

“My wife and I both have survivors in our family,” said Mariola. “We feel strongly about giving back to the local community, so we are thrilled at the opportunity to be involved.”  

Ticket holders for the “Rail Against Breast Cancer” event will enjoy an evening of live entertainment by Akron’s Swizzle Sticks Band, auction and raffle items, as well as The Rail’s locally-sourced burger sliders, signature milkshakes, Ohio craft beer tastings, locally distilled spirits and scrumptious house-made sides. 

Tickets for this private event are $75 per person and are not available at the door. The Rail will be closed to the general public for this special event. For advance reservations, please contact The Rail at 330-864-RAIL {7245}.

The Rail’s two new locations (Canton and North Olmsted) are also getting involved this year, donating all profits for the day of May 18th to the cause.   

Stronger beer, you say?

Stronger beer, you say?

JAFB - Wooster Brewery's Brewmaster Paul Fryman gives his two cents on proposed OH legislation to raise the ABV limit on beer.

Carnivores, meet Rail Beef

The Rail has been the topic of many conversations lately, which of course we love. Sometimes those conversations include not-quite-so-accurate details. So we thought it best to debunk a few myths we've heard lately.

1.      Rail beef is not raised on the owners' farm. They raise sheep and soccer players, in addition to fruits and vegetables.

2.     Owner Mike Mariola does not personally wrestle the beef to the ground at slaughter time.


So, what’s the deal with Rail Beef?

Rail beef is 100% Ohio sourced.  We serve patties that are a blend of fresh ground beef, it's absolutely never frozen.  Our patties are custom ground and formed by Blue Ribbon Meats in Cleveland, Ohio.  We get deliveries almost every day to ensure freshness and quality.


Local beef is important, and here is why:

-It tastes better:  Fresher food tastes better, period.

-It helps our local economy:  Ohio beef sales bring in over 500 million dollars a year to Ohio farms.  This money goes directly back into our local economy.

-It supports our farmers:  Buying beef locally helps support small farms all around Ohio and in Ohio, farming's kind of a big deal.

-Lower carbon footprint:  Food purchased from local sources has to travel shorter distances to the end user.  This helps reduce transportation and its associated carbon footprint.

-It makes us special:  We are proud to be one of only a handful of restaurants in the state that can say all of their beef comes only from Ohio farms! 


What do Rail Beef eat? Are they Grassfed?

Our beef comes from all over the State.  Ohio is home to thousands of beef farms ranging from small (less than 10 head of beef) to large (over 100 head of beef).  We are proud to say that the burgers that we purchase from Blue Ribbon Meats are 100% Ohio Sourced.  We believe that the closer you can be to your food source, the better. 

The American Grassfed Association defines grassfed animals as those that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grass or grass-type hay from birth to harvest – all their lives. Since our source is so broad (farms throughout the state), we cannot certify the diet. Although much of the beef that makes its way into our food chain is raised on pasture and eats primarily grass, some of the beef has a mixed diet that may include corn, corn silage, haylage, brewer’s grains (leftover grains from beer production – LOVE IT), vitamins and minerals, wheatlage and other mixtures based on specific diet goals, or based on the season (if you'll notice, there's not much grass on the ground in winter). So while Rail beef is not certified grassfed, it's also not what some refer to as "feedlot" beef.

Again, the most important factor of our beef is that it all comes from Ohio farms.


What is Source-Verified?

For beef to be source-verified it must meet strict guidelines, enforced by the USDA, that track each head of beef from birth to harvest.  This process requires detailed record keeping and audits.  When we opened the first Rail location, we had just one main source for our beef.  Due to the high volume of beef we now purchase, this system has changed to include farms across the state.  Source verification on such a large scale would be possible, but cost-prohibitive. The Rail beef is not source-verified; however, The Rail beef is 100% Ohio sourced!



No more.  We started by hand forming our burgers.  Why?  The burgers retain a really nice loose texture, like the ones grandma would have cooked on the backyard grill.  This is the flavor and texture profile we are looking for.  The issue we had with hand-formed burgers is that they cooked very unevenly.  We ended up with baseball burgers, hockey puck burgers and ying yang burgers (rare on one half and well on the other).  Solution:  We worked with Blue Ribbon Meats to make a custom patty plate for their state-of-the-art patty machine.  Blue Ribbon was able to calibrate the machine to form our burgers with LOW compression, which gives us the nice fat (or phat) patties that stay loosy-juicy when they come off the grill.