Nostalgic in so many ways, Southern Rail Restaurant is quickly becoming a local tradition and certainly an adventure in dining. The American South is the inspiration for this rustic and upscale casual gem located amongst the Changing Hands Bookstore and First Draft Book Bar at The Newton in Central Phoenix. Justin Beckett of Beckett’s Table is the master creator of the incredible cuisine at this Valley hot spot.
The foods are not without their own inspiration from Georgia to the Gulf Coast to Texas. Some of the most memorable tastes and dishes known for those regions are rethought and in some cases infused with other ingredients to excite guests and make for critical acclaim by guests and food critics alike. Menus and creations are ever-changing, but some favorites are available for lunch. The Dirty Rice Balls are a must, made with onion cream and a corn relish that is rich tasting but surprisingly light. As a starter, they are something every party should order and try. With that starter, we suggest the Fried Green Tomatoes as well. This is accompanied by a pimento sauce that compliments perfectly the Old Southern appeal of this dish. As a main dish, the Chicken & Biscuit Dumplings are spectacular. Made with McClendon Farms heirloom carrots, mushrooms and fresh pea tendrils, this rendition of the Old Southern dish is delightful and memorable. On the lighter side is the Barley & Kale Salad made with a collard green pesto, roasted grapes and toasted pecans. The Po’Boy sandwiches are steeped in the tradition of the South and are made on French bread and filled with tons of meats, vegetables and seafood. The Cornmeal Crusted Catfish is a light and truly Southern treat with the creole remoulade and green tomato kimchee.
The space is very festive and has a warm, rustic industrial appeal. Inspired by the train stations of the South, this expansive space looks onto Camelback and the light rail, giving a modern day rail experience. The patio and bar are fun spots to congregate at, and at lunch the staff is quick and so accommodating. True to the authentic South, this eatery is bound to be a longtime Valley tradition.
300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix