The wait is over.
Downtown’s new upscale eatery — Rails Craft Brew and Eatery — officially opens for business today, serving lunch and dinner.
The restaurant, which offers fine dining and craft beer, is located along the railroad tracks at 112 St. Louis Ave., to the west of The Tribune office.
On Saturday, a VIP invitation-only event was conducted for community leaders and others to get their first look and taste of what Rails has to offer.
Jackie Rust of Seymour said she was impressed by the food, service and the renovations that have been made to the 1890s building owned by Tom Goecker of Seymour.
“Great place,” she said. “I can’t wait until we can go every week. So excited for downtown Seymour and our community.”
The “soft” opening also allowed staff an opportunity to do a run-through of preparing and serving dishes before today’s opening.
Dan Davis of Seymour dined Saturday night with his wife, Karen, and also had good reviews of the food and service.
“We greatly enjoyed our sampling of the menu tonight,” he posted on Rails’ Facebook page. “Artichoke and spinach dip with seasoned pita chips was great. My steak was as ordered, rare, and nicely seasoned, didn’t even think about salt and peppering it. Asparagus was quite tasty too.”
Davis said he looks forward to going back.
Rails’ menu consists of chicken, steak, pasta and seafood dishes, gourmet burgers and sandwiches, along with appetizers, salads and desserts.
Diana Abbott of Seymour also attended the VIP event and said she had a good time.
“Food was good and serving sizes were plenty,” she said. “Atmosphere was very nice. They have a piano bar upstairs. I really hope it will make a go in downtown.”
Although the project has been under construction since January, there are still a few checklist items that need to be completed. Those include a brick patio and awning on the building’ s east side for outdoor dining during nice weather and the building’s signage.
Business owner David Lawrence received unanimous approval for two types of signs last week from the city’s board of zoning appeals.
“We’ve invested a significant amount of money into this business and wanted to figure out the best way to draw people to this facility yet keeping with the nostalgia of the downtown,” Lawrence said.
One sign includes a large, vinyl decal with the vintage Rails logo that will be installed on the building’s east-facing brick wall. The other is an old-style, steel sign that extends over the sidewalk in front of the building.
Neither sign will be illuminated in any way, Lawrence said.
Lawrence said he wanted the look to be nostalgic instead of a typical, neon bar sign.
“We’ve done everything to preserve that look,” he said. “It’s new, but it has a real nice vintage look to it.”
The vinyl wall sign will be big enough to help draw people from U.S. 50 to the business and the downtown, he added.