The Rail hasn’t yet reopened to dine-service, but when it does, co-owners Toby and Melanie Miles plan to return to their roots and operate the restaurant as a brunch and lunch eatery instead of a lunch and dinner destination.
“When we first opened, obviously it was just Mel and I. We didn’t know what to expect, so we started off with a really small kitchen,” Toby said “We thought a small kitchen would be fine, and we would use one floor (of the renovated barn at 211 Park St. Westfield) and somebody else would rent the second floor. The more we got into it, the more we realized people want to go out to eat in Westfield.”
When The Rail first opened, Westfield had few restaurants. The Miles offered wine dinners and discovered there was a huge need for dinner restaurants in Westfield.
“We thought, ‘OK, we can do a little bit of dinner,’ and it snowballed from there,” Toby said. “We never really were set up for a dinner service. Our kitchen is 182 square feet when it’s empty, and that’s all the prep space and cooking space and service space. Doing dinner was possible because the (employees) we have are awesome, but it’s a lot of work to consistently make that happen.”
Although the Miles enjoyed offering dinner, the COVID-19 pandemic made them rethink their business model with regard to their employees.
“Everybody needs to spend more time with their family, and making that shift to go back to what we were doing before seemed like a necessity for everybody,” Toby said.
Employees still will work a full work week but only work at the restaurant four days a week.
“It’s just kind of a good chance for us to reset and reevaluate what we are set up to do and do the best in our setup,” Toby said. “What we originally set out to do was breakfast and lunch. The brunch menu we’ve been testing these last three or four weeks. We have been testing recipes, and it’s a big brunch menu. We have our lunch menu we are adding to. It’s a Rail brunch menu, so it’s not your typical brunch menu.”
A reopening date hasn’t been set, but when The Rail does reopen, its hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant will be closed Mondays.