Southern Rail: Creative Comfort

by RaeAnne Marsh

A friendly neighborhood destination resurrected just a few years ago from Phoenix landmark Beef Eaters as part of Phoenix’s revitalization project, The Newton shopping center is anchored by Southern Rail. “Friendly,” in fact, suffuses the restaurant, helping give the wide-open dining room a cozy atmosphere.

Décor combines industrial concrete floors with the warmth of wood, from the finished rustic ceiling to the seating options below it. The preponderance of hard surfaces may raise the sound level to lively buzz, but the generous space around the tables provides a setting conducive to productive business conversation.

Two patio scenes complement the dining room, wrapping as an “L” around two sides. One side, dominated by a fireplace, spills out from the indoor/outdoor bar; the other faces the Light Rail that gives context to the restaurant’s name.

Original Muffuletta Burger Cured meats, provolone cheese, tomato and olive salad with Creole aioli on a sesame brioche bun $14

The other part of the name references the menu: Although these creations of noted local chef Justin Beckett draw from other familiar classics, the dishes are influenced by Southern cooking traditions.

It’s hard to get more Southern than the New Orleans staple, the po’boy. Southern Rail fills its French bread rolls with choices that range from shaved pork loin, ham and house-made pickles to cornmeal-crusted fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese. (The fried green tomatoes are a good choice on their own, and can be ordered as an appetizer.)

The fried chicken is available only on the dinner menu, but lunch offers chicken and biscuit dumplings, a hearty stew of pulled chicken with McClendon Farms heirloom carrots, mushrooms and fresh pea tendrils.

Something different in the burger family is Southern Rail’s Muffaletta Burger. Piled high in a sesame brioche bun are cured meats, provolone cheese and tomato slices smothered under olive salad and Creole aioli.

Dessert temptations range from brioche bread pudding with bourbon sauce to the much lighter beignets, served under sifted mounds of powdered sugar.

A knowledgeable wait staff is helpful with questions about the dishes as well as the beverage list that includes local wines and craft beers.

Southern Rail
300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
(602) 200-0085

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