The property that houses The Rail, a bar and grill in the Richland section of Buena Vista Township, used to be a "train wreck," owner Ed Melon says.
Melon and his family are in the business of buying and renovating residential and commercial properties, including this one three and a half years ago.
Following a complete renovation, rebranding and renaming, The Rail is now "a friendly bar and grill," as its tagline states, featuring a full lunch and dinner menu, two full bars - one indoor and one outdoor - and live entertainment at least once a weekend.
The name is a tip of the hat to its location in Richland Village, a historic town based around the now rarely used railroad.
Melon describes the bar and grill as a family-friendly establishment during the lunch and dinner hours. The food is over-portioned, fresh and made to order, he says, with signature dishes such as a half-pound cheesesteak and Rail burger and jumbo, whole wings smothered in a signature homemade sauce.
After 9 p.m., the eatery turns into more of a bar scene and is only open to patrons 21 years and older. The Rail features live entertainment several nights a week with two full bars and a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.
Melon says The Rail is also "female friendly," meaning the bar was designed to make females feel welcome and safe, he says. There hasn't been an altercation at The Rail since it opened its doors three years ago and many of its drinks and specials were added especially for the ladies, including an extensive martini and margarita menu. Martinis and margaritas are $6 all day on Mondays as well as during happy hour.
"We know if the females are there, the men will come, too," he says.
Aside from the martinis and margaritas, The Rail's bar also offers 10 beers on tap and approximately 65 bottles, including a rotating craft beer selection and a signature Rail beer.
The Rail has live entertainment "100 to 150 times a year," Melon says, particularly on the weekends, and a wooden dance floor to get people on their feet.
The entertainment varies and includes a full calendar lineup listed on its website, which is frequently updated.
As a Thanksgiving Celebration, Thursday, Nov. 22, The Rail will be the host of the making of a major music video celebration/dance party by producer/director Ron Diprimio, kicking off the "Show Us Your Shoes" Winter Tour by the Triple XXX Band.
All guests are being asked to wear their most outlandish, sexy or statement-setting shoes and will be asked to sign a waiver upon entrance.
The party starts at about 8:30 p.m.
Some additional exciting upcoming events and performances at The Rail include The Living Edge Band on Saturday, Nov. 24, Jezebelle on Nov. 30, Jason Cooper Comedy Club on Dec. 1, and The Johnny Cash Tribute Band on Dec. 14.
The band Eleven Eleven will be performing for an End of the World Party (as determined by the Mayan calendar) on Friday, Dec. 21, and if the world doesn't actaully end, The Rail will host its annual Christmas Party Dec. 22, with entertainment provided by the Cheesy and the Crackers Band.
Keeping it quirky:
The Rail doesn't use $1 bills (although they kindly accept them). Instead, they make all small transactions using $2 bills and half dollars.
"It's just a fun way to create some constant chatter about the Rail," Melon says. "People like to tell stories about how the 7/11 attendant didn't have a slot in his register for the $2 bill and had to call a manager or how the toll attendant backed up traffic because they couldn't count it correctly. It gives people something to talk about."