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“Excellent food, bad service”
Review of Southern Rail

Southern Rail
Ranked #48 of 76 Restaurants in Carrboro
Price range: US$10 - US$25
Cuisines: American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Knightdale, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
109 reviews
60 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Excellent food, bad service”
Reviewed 19 August 2014

We were in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area with some friends for a Tae Kwon Do tournament for our children. After they had competed we decided to to and have some lunch. After some discussion we decided to go to downtown Carrboro for lunch and settled on Southern Rail for its cool atmosphere being in old train cars which our kids thought were cool. We were seated very quickly and drink orders were filled soon after sitting down. This is where our good service stopped. We had to check on getting refills a few times and only got one. Our server rarely checked on us. The lunch menu is really limited. In fact it is more geared towards a brunch. There were a lot of egg dishes and breakfast type things. At 12:30 I didn't want breakfast I wanted lunch. They had two lunch items which were a burger and a fried chicken sandwich. I ordered the chicken sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. Without exagerating, it took 45 minutes to get our order. For sandwiches and fries I thought that was ridiculous. Not only did it take that long to get our food our server never checked on us again until our food came out. After waiting for a good half an hour I went and asked the person who seemed to be the manager what the hold up was and she said she'd check. She did come to our table and say our food was finishing up and would be out in a few minutes. 15 minutes later it finally appeared. I have to say in all honesty, the food was good once it arrived. The chicken sanwich was a freshly cooked breast which appeared hand breaded and it was served on a brioche style bun, with garlic aioli and leaf lettuce. The sweet potato fries seemed to be the frozen type but were hot and tasty and it was also served with a garlic dill pickle spear. Like I said the food was really good and was very reasonably priced. Of that I have no complaints. But the people they have working there are not very good at there jobs. Having worked in the restaurant business in my youth I understand when there are delays in a kitchen. It happens. That is an opportunity to let your customer know the issue and to make sure they are at least taken care of with their beverages and let them know the situation. Most folks will understand. At least we would know the situation. The waitstaff never showed back up so we had no idea. They place wasn't that busy so I can't imagine what the delay would have been in the first place. In conclusion I would recommend the food at Southern Rail if you are able to wait it out and get it. The waitstaff didn't seem to have any idea what they should be doing. Yeah they knew all about the various craft beers they had but I don't know if they would have figured out how to get it to your table if you ordered one.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank KTownDad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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69 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Cool food, off-beat decor, bumper car parking lot”
Reviewed 16 August 2014

We missed lunch while moving our son into his dorm, so stopped into Southern Rail for a late lunch/early dinner. We were offered our choice of indoor dining in one of the converted rail cars or outdoors on one of two terraces. The decor is quirky and somewhat cluttered but fits right into the Carrboro/UNC vibe. Our seating on the back terrace was shady but a bit buggy. Our server and the chef accommodated our request to order off the dinner menu even though it was a bit early in the afternoon. My husband had the fried chicken and waffles which he devoured and said were memorable. I ordered the sandwich with avocado, provolone and tomatoes - incredibly good. The sweet potato fries were some of the best I have ever eaten. Huge wine pour which was very welcome after a long day of hauling dorm belongings up lots of stairs! The only reason I gave it four stars is the parking lot is an absolute zoo and the restroom was none too clean. Other than that, this is a winner when in and around Carrboro.

  • Visited August 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank NCsoprano
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norfolk, VA
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Excellent Food, Great atmosphere”
Reviewed 7 August 2014

Diverse Menu (with vegetarian options). We had a group of 6 that were seated promptly and comfortably. Food was tasty and reasonably priced. Full bar- that we utilized fully! Although a majority of the positive experience was the private function after dinner we attended, the restaurant was kind enough to put up with us and provide good service til the wee hours of the morning

Visited August 2014
Thank workingclasslass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Asheville, North Carolina
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Good, comfortable lunch/dinner spot”
Reviewed 29 July 2014

First off, Southern Rail has a very cool, unique setting as a converted series of train cars. They also have a nice outdoor space in the rear (and front, but that is right next to a pretty busy parking lot). Good selection of beers on tap and by the bottle. The service can be spotty at times -- either very responsive or absent for long spells. Not sure if that is a training or staff quantity issue but I've experienced it a few times.

Overall, the entrees are pretty solid. The pulled pork with slaw and beans is good, as well as the fried chicken & waffles. Their tater-tots are like crack, so go easy or you'll be addicted.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank JJboone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Pole, Alaska
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great chicken and waffles!”
Reviewed 17 June 2014 via mobile

This was my second trip to Southern Rail and both trips have been very pleasurable. I love their fried chicken, in any form. I usually end up stealing a chicken strip from my 3 year olds plate. The restaraunt has a laid back feel and possibly over exuberant wait staff (Sterling that means you). Overall I definitely recommend.

Thank Jared B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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