Pie Supply: Why We Eat Dessert First

Pie Supply: Why We Eat Dessert First

Who doesn’t love a good piece of pie?! We sure do, and boy, do we have some good pie here at The Rail! As we’re sure you know, we’re all about locally sourced ingredients, from our burgers and sandwiches to all our beers on tap, and our dessert isn’t any different. Believe it or not, although we go through lots of them, our pies come from a very small bakery… a kitchen, in Medina, Ohio!

We’d like to introduce the Baker, Sheri Tucker.  Sheri is the owner and operator of Pie Supply, dedicating all her baking time and one-of-a-kind pies to The Rail! Sheri makes all our pies herself at home and hand delivers them to us, spending about 15-20 hours a week on the process each time we get new flavors. Sheri’s pies are exclusive to The Rail and rotate seasonally. Sheri has developed a range of unique pie flavors just for The Rail and even takes suggestions from our team on what ingredients she should experiment with next!

Sheri first got started baking for her family, and when her niece starting selling produce at the local Medina Farmer’s Market, Sheri decided she’d try out selling her pies there too! Working a full-time job made pie baking more of a hobby for Sheri, but when you're that good at something, sometimes you receive a sign. One day while at the farmer’s market, she was approached by The Rail Team (big fans of Sheri's bakery) and asked if she'd be willing to bake pies to be served in our restaurants. Sheri had actually never heard of us before this encounter, but she decided it was time for her and her husband to see what we were all about, so they came for dinner. She loved the all-Ohio, locally sourced focus of our concept, as she shares those same ideals herself, using as many local ingredients as she can in her pies!

When asked about her pie flavors, Sheri said her go-to is generally fruit-based pies, but has been experimenting with new flavors since working with us. A perfect example of this is our most popular dessert, Watershed Bourbon Pecan Pie, which started with a recipe suggestion from our own Executive Chef, Mike Hawks. This pie has been such a success that it even won Sheri a new oven in a pie bake–off! Sheri's experimented with cheesecake for The Rail as well, coming up with the perfect blend of tart and creamy flavors for a fan favorite, and she makes the brownies and the pumpkin pie we use in our milkshakes to boot!

Before she left our interview, we asked Sheri if there were any secrets to baking the perfect pies, and she shared a few with us. Contrary to popular belief, Sheri says to allow pie crust to reach room temperature before rolling it out and using it, which helps to prevent cracking in the base of your pie. She also said when making the crust, you should use the more water than a recipe requires - this ensures your crust will be more manageable to work with.

Still currently working a full-time job, Sheri believes that having a fully functioning bakery is not in the cards right now, but she could see herself possibly opening one later in life when she retires. So, if you’re craving your favorite flavor of Sheri’s scratch-made, mouthwatering pies, for now you’ll have to keep traveling to your nearest Rail to enjoy it!

Sheri has been supplying our delicious local pies for a few years now, and we’re so grateful for all her hard work to help us serve the tastiest desserts in town. If by chance you haven’t saved room for dessert with us, make sure to try out seasonal pie specials, Apple Crumb and Pumpkin, the next time you’re in! Thank you for all that you do, Sheri – you’re the reason we always recommend eating dessert first!

Zaftig: Featured Brewery of the Season

Zaftig: Featured Brewery of the Season

      As we continue our Brewery Partnership program, we’re so excited to share the Local Love and announce a new partnership starting this month! With fall approaching, we chose to partner with Zaftig Brewing Co. for the season, sharing the selection of unique, full-bodied beers they are known for! Zaftig, a unique name indeed, is a Yiddish word which means plump or juicy, often being used to describe a full-bodied woman. But, in their case, it’s being used to describe their full-bodied beers, which is why they coined the motto “Full-bodied beer for a full-bodied experience.”  

      Co-founders Jim Gokebach and Brent Blevins were once regular drinkers of Bud Light, just like the rest of us, but found inspiration in the ‘Beer Wars,’ a documentary about the cutthroat world of the American Beer business. Being the “go-big-or-go-home” guys that they are, Gokebach and Blevins decided they weren’t going to be pushed around by the Big Beer names, and decided to start brewing their own beer. This day marked the beginnings of Zaftig Brewing Co…. and the exact time they stopped drinking Bud Light!

     Zaftig is a craft brewery located in Worthington, OH, that started in a small industrial garage and has recently moved to a much larger location featuring a taproom. They are known for not being afraid to test the limits, and when Ohio’s ABV cap was lifted, Zaftig was the first craft brewery in the Columbus area to release a beer at over 12% ABV.  Gokebach and Blevins respect the innovators and leaders of the modern craft beer industry and feel they take their inspiration from them, just as a musician gets their inspiration from musicians before them. To put it in simple terms, they believe in crafting each beer to the standard of their favorite beer from breweries they admire, which is one heck of a standard to hold yourself to, but warrants quality products.

     When they opened in 2014, Zaftig produced only four beers: Heavy Hearted Amber, a traditional Amber with strong malt body, Black Perle Stout, with chocolate and caramel notes, Too Cans Imperial IPA, heavily hopped and balanced, and Shadowed Mistress, a beer that doesn’t seem to fall under one category, but instead three (somewhere between IPA, ESB and Barleywine).

     Now Zaftig has become a lot more than just a small brewery, with new flagship beers, seasonal specialties, special releases and the introduction of their Brew Cat, Hops. Hops likes to wander around the brewing facility and pose for some amazing pictures – he even posts those pictures on his very own Instagram account. You can often find him strolling around the taproom to visit with and have a good time with Zaftig’s guests.

      With this new fall partnership, we will continue hosting Growler Nights every Thursday and Friday, with $15 Zaftig growler fills all day long! Your favorite full-bodied beers will be closer than ever, and you can enjoy them fresh from the comfort of your couch, just by visiting your favorite dinner spot! Can’t decide which to order? Don’t worry, you can grab a flight of all our Zaftig drafts with this season’s Featured Ohio Brewery Flight, just $10 all season! Now that’s something to celebrate… we’ll cheers to that!

Six Years Strong, Happy Birthday to Us!

The-Rail-Birthday-Burger

“Local is at the heart of all we do here at The Rail, and we’re so proud of that,” owner Mike Mariola shared. We don’t think any of us could have said it better! Six years ago today, we opened the very first Rail location in Akron, Ohio, just outside Summit Mall, and we’re so excited to celebrate six years of serving up the best local food, milkshakes and beers around.

The Rail was inspired by the success of another Mike Mariola Restaurant, still thriving in his hometown of Wooster, Ohio. The success of The City Square Steakhouse’s bar menu led Mike to craft a more casual, sit-down restaurant specializing in all-Ohio burgers, beers and milkshakes, which you know as The Rail.

Ohio-Beer-Taps

Over the next five years, The Rail became much more than a burger bar, now with four locations in Akron, Canton, North Olmsted and Strongsville, and plans slated for Columbus in 2018. The Mike Mariola Restaurants team has also taken on a new venture with Ohio Beer Garden, located next door to The Rail – North Olmsted, with a focus on local brewing camaraderie.

While we continue to grow, we also continue to be locally owned and fully committed to serving the best-tasting, freshest local offerings to our customers. Although The Rail is best known for our gourmet burgers, we’ve been listening to our guests’ feedback and working hard to broaden our menu offerings beyond burgers, to include more fresh and delicious options for local proteins, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and healthier side options.

6th-anniversary-staff

When asked, Mike said the three things that keeps The Rail unique are “fresh, local food, refreshing beverages for the whole family, and his own passion for serving the best that our great state has to offer.” We are not only committed to creating the best burger and milkshake (or beer) combinations, but we also have knowledgeable team members who are proud of what they serve. This is evident by the fact that several of them who started with us way back in 2011 are still with us today, including Laura McKinney, Diana Magno, Matthew Fricke, Steven Laungrath and Josh Markey, all still in Akron,  and Bobby Borelle, our very own “Four Storesman,” having worked at every Rail location, leading to his current position as North Olmsted’s Kitchen Manager. When people are proud of what they’re doing, they tend to stick around, and we’re so glad to have our incredible staff of RAILavores old and new here to celebrate with us.

Looking back on the last six years, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. We certainly couldn’t have made it to where we are today without our hard-working team and loyal customers, and we look forward to sharing the exciting journey ahead with you!

Rail-County-Cow

Celebrating Cow Appreciation Day with E.R. Boliantz Co.

ER-Boliantz-Ohio-Tour

At The Rail, we are committed to providing the best-tasting, freshest food to our customers, and for us, that starts with locally sourced ingredients, which is why we’re proud to work with the E.R. Boliantz Co. Supplied by family farms throughout Ohio, E.R. Boliantz Co. set guidelines to serve the “best beef possible,” which this is not just a slogan for them, but the guiding principle behind everything they do.

Ohio-Farm-Tour-The-Rail

This family business got its start in the meat industry with Jeff and Margret Boliantz’s small Mansfield butcher shop and grocery store in 1929, and the tradition continued when their son Emil opened Boliantz Packing in the mid-1940’s. Emil’s son, Bob Boliantz, worked alongside him for more than 15 years before taking over the business, and he keeps his family’s roots and values alive every day by maintaining both the product quality standards and the close-knit farmer and vendor relationships. The Boliantz family knows that working with local farms and buying local products not only means they are getting the freshest, most wholesome foods for their dinner table, but also supporting their friends and neighbors while doing so.

Our team had the pleasure of touring the Boliantz packing facility, as well as visiting farms they work with, and we had the chance to talk to Bob Boliantz and his daughter Jess, hearing firsthand why “local” means so much to them.

Bob-Boliantz

Although the Boliantz family doesn’t own a functioning farm, they have raised steers, hogs and horses, and know all the responsibilities that come with running a farm. Growing up as the daughter of a small business owner, Jess recalls her dad holding very long hours and taking few family vacations, but that knowing how much customers appreciate his commitment to a better product makes all that hard work worth the sacrifice. While E.R. Boliantz Co. continues to grow, Bob maintains a close relationship with every farming family they work with and stands by keeping all his contacts in a classic black book, the same way his father did business.

The family knows that beyond providing a superior product to consumers, sourcing locally also helps our local economy by supporting Ohio’s farmers. Jess says, “We believe that sourcing locally is superior because harvesting local cattle means the beef reaches the market sooner and, therefore, fresher. Local sourcing also supports our great state’s historical heritage of agriculture and helps to ensure a better community for the future of Ohio.” Each member of the Boliantz family plays a key role in keeping these sentiments alive, and they continue to make sacrifices for the good of the company and community.

Boliantz-Packing-Ohio-Beef

The Boliantz family is so dedicated to the quality of the beef they source that cattle are individually inspected and hand-selected. These cattle are raised on a very specific diet that allows for the desired levels of marbling and tenderness in the beef, and by working closely with the farmers, the Boliantzes can ensure the animals are raised healthily – a world of difference from feedlots sourcing massive quantities of beef to many chain restaurants. Lastly, this beef is dry chilled right in the plant, using more labor-intensive, “old-school” techniques, but resulting in perfectly aged, flavorful cuts. E.R. Boliantz Co. does everything possible to provide the best quality of beef to the people of Ohio, and when asked why they’re proud to be Ohioans, Jess says, “Ohio is a place that knows the importance of family, friends and farming.”

Since the Boliantz family supplies The Rail with some of the best locally sourced beef around, why not let them build the perfect burger? When asked if they could build the perfect Rail Burger, they said they would keep it simple and delicious, topped with Blue Cheese, Pepper Bacon and Frizzled Onions. Who knows, maybe you’ll see this as a Weekend Special one day!  

Ohio-Farm-Tour

Our visit to the plant and farms gave our team new insight into the work that goes into bringing us our fresh, quality beef and a newfound appreciation for all the people supporting our local community every day. Because we’re known for our all-Ohio burgers and our mission is to serve the highest-quality beef around, we’re so proud to highlight local farms with the same values and standards we hold near and dear, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the process of the beef coming to our restaurants and eventually being served to you… and on Cow Appreciation Day, no less! (Yes, that's a real holiday!)

Step Up Your Grill Game: Chef-Inspired Tips for Your Summer Cookout

Step Up Your Grill Game: Chef-Inspired Tips for Your Summer Cookout

A cookout is one of the best ways to bring people together in the summertime (other than going to The Rail, of course). When you want to stay home and enjoy your beautiful backyard, don’t waste your time searching Pinterest for the best grilling recipes to entertain your guests - we’ve got you covered! We pressed our Executive Chef, Mike Hawks, to give up all his best grilling tips for the summer so you can bring home a piece of our restaurant experience and cook your perfect #RailBurger – and more – on your own grill!  (No chefs were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

Rhinegeist: Featured Brewery of the Summer

Rhinegeist: Featured Brewery of the Summer

If there’s one thing to know about The Rail, it’s how important being local is to us. We like to show our Local Love, and we’re excited to share a new program, with a Featured Brewery Partner for the season. This summer, we’ve chosen Rhinegeist Brewery of Cincinnati to partner with us through August, sharing a unique selection of brews and promotions to go along with them!

 

Rhinegeist is a craft brewery located in the heart of Cincinnati’s Brewery District -  even their name pays tribute to the historic “Over-The-Rhine” area, with Rhinegiest meaning, “Ghost of The Rhine.” Their brewing facility operates within the 110,000 square foot skeleton of an old Moerlein Brewing Company bottling plant, built in 1895. Rhinegeist is influenced by West Coast brewing styles, bringing the spirit of a bustling yet easygoing craft beer scene to southern Ohio. They believe in the power of beer to bring great people together, foment fantastic ideas, and build a community that values craft beer and one another. We have to say, they’ve made The Rail team firm believers too!

6th and Final Rail Against Breast Cancer

6th and Final Rail Against Breast Cancer

It’s that time of year again… We’re partnering with Team Breast Man Walking for the sixth and final Rail Against Breast Cancer benefit! Join us at The Rail – Akron on Sunday, May 7th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for an amazing event, supporting a great cause while having a great time.

 

RABC raises funds for Team Breast Man Walking’s participation in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a 60-mile walk to end breast cancer. This cause is very near and dear to Akron locals Kathy and Lee Giller and Nancy Schrader, who have teamed up with The Rail for this event the last five years.

Winning One for Ohio: Mojo Burger Earns Best in Show

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!

Skip Work, Drink Beer.

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.

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.

Flying through FeBREWary with Warped Wing

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.

 

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!

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

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.