Having made a successful culinary splash in Gloucester with the Seaport Grille and 1606 Restaurant inside the Beauport Hotel Gloucester, the Beauport Hospitality Group dropped anchor in Boston last June with the opening of Rail Stop Restaurant & Bar, offering lunch and dinner in the hip, hot new Boston Landing neighborhood in Brighton. The restaurant’s name pays homage to its historic location at the former Brighton Station, one of the first stops along the old Boston and Worcester Railroad that ran from the mid-1830s until 1962 when The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority acquired the tracks to extend the Massachusetts Turnpike into Boston. When the MBTA opened the Framingham/Worcester commuter rail line in 2017, it also reopened Brighton Station (shuddered in 1962), but renamed it Boston Landing.
“Everything, from the look and feel of the restaurant to the artwork, honors the town of Brighton and the return of the rail stop,” says Josh Medeiros, general manager of Rail Stop Restaurant & Bar, designed by the legendary Niemitz Design Group. To wit, upon walking into the 250-seat dining room (with 30 additional seats in the private dining room, Brighton Hall), you sense a vintage railway station theme. To the left of the entrance sits a curved bar with 30 bright-blue leather seats. On your right, leaf-green leather booths meant to evoke Pullman boxcar seating fill the dining area, along with tables and woven leather chairs. Barrel-vaulted ceilings add loftiness, while vintage chandeliers, soft lighting, and black-and-white framed photographs of old trains, Brighton Station, and other railroad scenes inject a sense of nostalgia.
So, what kind of food can you expect to find in this restaurant, located next to Warrior Ice Arena, where the Boston Bruins practice and near the future training facility for the Boston Celtics?
“We didn’t want to be a traditional sports bar,” says Medeiros. “The executive chef, Jonathan Schick, wanted to do modern New England cuisine, along with refined comfort food” like New England clam chowder with smoked bacon and dry-aged New York strip steak with shallot jam.
Before you dine, however, consider stopping by the bar, overseen by cocktail maestro Eli Shapiro, who makes his own grenadine and orange liqueur, crafts over 20 kinds of bitters, including carrot and marshmallow, and fashions ice cubes imbedded with orange rind roses for his drinks. He dries his own citrus wheels, cures his own cocktail cherries, and even molds his own white and brown sugar cubes, all of which sit along the bar in huge glass apothecary jars. Shapiro ages many of his specialty cocktails in small barrels, such as the Barrel-Aged Manhattan. His Daiquiri arrives with poetic directions—clipped to the glass’s rim—to squeeze the fresh lime halves into the sugar-rum mixture and stir the drink with the dried lavender sprig, which, thanks to some butterfly pea flower powder, turns the drink a dreamy soft lavender. No surprise, the cocktails are exquisite, and after one or two, you’ll certainly want something to eat.
In keeping with the bar’s made-from-scratch approach, the kitchen makes its own bread, pastas, and desserts. Schick proudly sources his meats from Savenor’s Butcher & Market, and most of the fish and seafood hails from Cape Ann. The Parmesan-herb arancini (rice balls) are served in homemade marinara, while the country pork pâté comes with grilled wheat bread, mustard, and tasty pickled red onions.
One of the chef’s signature dishes is his daily risotto, which can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegan. Another is his lobster mac and cheese, a decadent trio of butter-poached lobster, cavatelli, and creamy cheddar cheese sauce. Most fish and seafood items, such as cod and scallops, are sautéed and served over seasonal vegetables. Hearty meat dishes, like the braised short ribs, chops, and steaks round out the dinner menu. However, if you want a burger or the poutine off the bar bites menu, you can order it in the dining room, and vice versa. Dessert offerings change often, but might include such sweets as chocolate mousse with raspberry whipped cream. In addition, Shapiro, no doubt, will happily shake up some crazy-good dessert cocktail.
Rail Stop marks the first of several eateries soon to open in the Boston Landing complex. A brewery, retail shops, high-rise condos, and even a hotel will follow.
“We aim to serve locals from the community, as well as nearby employees from New Balance, Harvard Business Publishing, Newbury Comics, WGBH, and the Beasley Broadcast Group, which owns several local radio stations,” says Madeiros. “We’ve even had five or six players from the Bruins come in, including Tuukka Rask, the goaltender, who’s been in three or four times.” Beyond those folks, Rail Stop Restaurant & Bar looks forward to serving cocktail connoisseurs, seafood and steak aficionados, and perhaps even some vintage train lovers.
Rail Stop Restaurant & Bar
96 Guest St., Boston,