Dining/Drinking Experience

River and Rail – A New Restaurant That Is Rooted In Tradition

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*Written by Alia Teetshorn & Pictures by Christian Ortiz

The founding owners of River and Rail, Frank and Leah Foley, met in California where he owned two restaurants that gave a nod to Southern cuisine.  

Taken at Spoonful, Frank's restaurant in L.A.

Frank and Leah at Spoonful, one of Frank’s restaurants in L.A.

When they moved to Frank’s hometown of Columbus, almost two years ago, they saw multiple takes on Southern fare but knew we were missing something else.  

They set out to create a restaurant that joined the best of the west coast, communal dining, with the essence of what our region’s culinary traditions all have in common, time spent together as a family enjoying a meal.  The concept of communal dining is more about a shared experience than simply eating at the same table.  

When they brought on chef and co-owner, Bradley Andries, who came from New Orleans by way of Italy, North Carolina and Maine, River and Rail’s concept truly took shape.  A native of Baton Rouge whose career spanned the country, as well as a three-year stint in Italy in a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, Chef Bradley brings with him a true passion for food and family.  

Chef Bradley Andries on the left

Chef Bradley Andries on the right and Chef Spencer Ellen on the left.

His earliest memories of cooking come from standing on a chair next to his grandmother’s stove, learning how she used food to show love for her family.  For this chef, there is no separation of his cuisine and his family history – he loves to cook and he loves to feed people.  Chef Bradley’s cooking goes beyond ingredients on a plate and truly tells a story.  

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When you dine at River and Rail on Broadway, you can expect shared plates and seasonal ingredients complimented by craft cocktails, wine and regionally-brewed beer.  While the entire menu won’t change monthly, we will have favorite dishes after all, expect seasonal dishes inspired by fresh ingredients from local sources.  

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They also plan to serve traditional Sunday brunch, which is certainly something downtown has been missing!  

Chef Bradley and the Foleys don’t want to limit their guests to special occasion dining.  It is as welcoming for an after-work cocktail, with shared plates as pre-Springer dinners, in the only private outdoor courtyard in Columbus.   

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Their commitment to attentive service is clear.  They have committed just as much thought and time to their craft cocktail offerings, wine list and bar area- where you can enjoy a fantastic drink, and inspired pairings, in the warm light of local, custom-made fixtures with Edison bulbs.   

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In naming River and Rail, Frank wanted to reference the foundation of his hometown: the Chattahoochee River and the railroad.  With that history in mind, the décor is simultaneously modern and timeless, featuring the original brick throughout and resonating a post-Prohibition feel.

The real estate developer, and cousin to Frank, Chris Woodruff, understood Frank’s vision. Woodruff’s company, The Cotton Company, took a year to renovate the late 1800’s space the right way.  It is only the second LEED-certified building in Columbus.  LEED stands for Leadership on Energy and Environmental Design, a designation given to projects that are green, sustainable and resource-efficient.

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When you start with the highest-quality food and drinks, add the shared vision of its owners and chef, you receive something that goes beyond what’s on your plate or in your glass.  Guests will experience the stories and meals that brought a concept together, to create a singular dining experience in Columbus.  

While I could describe the concept of River and Rail as fresh, experiential and communal, it can really be summed up one word:  family.

River and Rail

1232 Broadway, Columbus, GA 31901

706-478-7638

To Make a Reservation:  Open Table 

*Written by Alia Teetshorn & Pictures by Christian Ortiz

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