Westfield eatery expands hours and menu to serve dinner


Update 1/5/24: RAIL Cafe and Market in Westfield announces closure

Like the Monon Railroad in the late 1800s, RAIL Epicurean created inroads into Westfield — for the foodie scene that is taking hold. In the past year, the local eatery that first opened on Park Street in 2014 has made a comeback. Now, RAIL Cafe and Market is open for dinner, as well as breakfast and lunc.

RAIL owner Melanie Miles moved back to her home state of Indiana from Nashville, Tenn., ready for a career change. She decided to study culinary arts at Ivy Tech with the idea that she eventually wanted to open her own restaurant.

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The market provides locally made products in a grab and go setup.

After graduating, she worked at several restaurants, including for renowned Westfield chef Keltie Domina. That was how she met her husband, Toby. Both were chefs. Both were at a point in their careers and their lives where they were ready to start something new.

RAIL Epicurean was the first restaurant to open on the west end of Park Street, now known as “Restaurant Row,” when nearby Grand Junction Plaza was just an idea being tossed around. For seven years, RAIL offered farm-to-market meals, and in 2019 they opened Cone + Crumb next door to RAIL. Although initially successful, sales during winters were hard, according to Miles, and then the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.

“We didn’t feel like we could keep both going,” Miles said.

Although new restaurants had sprung up on “Restaurant Row,” people posted on social media about missing RAIL and about the possibility of it making a return.

In October 2022, Rail reopened for breakfast and lunch in its new location at the northeast corner of Ind. 32 and Grassy Branch Road. The new spot has a bright, airy feel with plenty of room for a larger kitchen, a small version of Cone + Crumb and a market that sells locally made items — and also plenty of parking.

RAIL had such a loyal following that not only have customers returned, but employees have come back to work there as well, Miles said.

In December, the owners expanded their hours and their menu to include dinner. Although customers will find a few crossover items from the lunch menu, such as the popular Rueben and the Rail Burger, some of the items are new to the menu.

“When we do our dinner menu, we have about six entrees,” Miles said. “We don’t try to have everything. We just try to do a few things and do them well, so we have more of a curated menu. One thing we’re known for is our pork chop. It’s a cold-smoked pork chopped grilled and served with homemade gnocchi with spinach cream sauce and served with wild mushrooms. I also really like our salmon right now, and we have a steak and burrato, which is a soft cheese.”

RAIL offers a special most weeks, either for brunch or dinner, and Miles plans to make seasonal changes to the menu.

Although Miles specialized in savory dishes in culinary school, she has experience with pastry, as well. So, in addition to being able to sit down for a brunch of quiche or Spicy Mama Chicken and Grits, customers can order a cup of coffee and pick up any of a number of bakery items, from muffins to macarons.

The restaurant also offers more than just mimosas for brunch, with a full bar serving wine, beer and craft cocktails. The Park Street Manhattan is a nod to the restaurant’s roots. Drinks like the Preservation Fizz, which pays homage to the jam company Miles started before opening Rail, use locally made liquors such as Cardinal Spirits from Bloomington and Old Hamer from West Fork Whiskey.

When Miles first created Preservation jam, there were no stores in the area that sold local products. Now, even if patrons don’t have time to sit down for a meal, they can stop by during regular hours to pick up some favorite local foods from the market, like Highlander Grog or Sweet Tomato Jam.

“That’s why local food is important to us,” Miles said. “We also wanted to support local producers. Most, probably 98 percent, of the products in the grab and go are locally made, most from the Midwest and many from Indiana. We also use a lot of the items on our menu.”

People can make reservations for dinner by calling 317-763-1376 or walk in at 3400 Nancy Street, Suite C, in Westfield, Wednesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 4 to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 4 to 9 p.m. For more, visit railwestfield.com.