Old Idea, New Style

Inner Rail Food Hall in Aksarben embodies the future’s dining experience


Emma Baker

Inner Rail Food Hall’s outdoor fireplaces, games and indoor communal tables make the environment welcoming and fun for all ages. It transforms a small eatery into a great place to hang out.

Emma Baker, Staff reporter

From delicate crepes to succulent chicken sandwiches, every cuisine a person desires is located in one convenient location: Inner Rail Food Hall.

On October 3rd, the flourishing community of Aksarben Village welcomed the new eatery to 67th and Shirley. Lines were out the door, full of hungry college kids, business professionals and families. But Inner Rail is more than just a spot to grab a bite; the connected shopping outlet and great outdoor entertainment space bring people in. Games like corn hole and giant jenga stand among the cozy fire pits, allowing customers to make meal time or work time a little more fun. 

But I couldn’t admire the outdoor aesthetics forever – It was time to eat.

Walking in, I saw 10 tiny “restaurant” counters in a horseshoe shape around the seating area. Table options varied from small booths to large 10 person tables which were perfect for my family. Leaving our stuff in our chairs, we then wandered from vendor to vendor, peering through the glass, to see what looked appetizing. 

After deciding what we each wanted to eat, we placed our orders. The wait was five to 10 minutes, which is not bad for a restaurant, but I expected a little more speed from joints with limited menus. Once our food came out the windows, we returned to the table, ready to sample each other’s meals. 

My sister ordered from Kathmandu Momo Station: A Place of Dumplings and Aagya’s Burmese Ramen. She got the beef ramen (opting for vegan broth rather than fish broth) and fried pork momos. The ramen’s coconut broth soaked into the noodles, but it didn’t do much to the tough, dry and unseasoned chunks of beef. The red cabbage added the crunch I needed and the hint of peanut didn’t overpower the dish. 

On the other hand, their Nepalese dumplings (momos) were overpowered by an unsuspecting flavor – cinnamon. 

The inside was warm and juicy, filled with pork, vegetables and spices. The outside was beautifully crimped and crisp. But cinnamon somehow got in the mix and threw off my palette entirely. Their Hamalayan Chai Tea, offered free as a sample, was also confusing to the taste buds. Spice after spice kept punching me in the mouth, and I couldn’t help but think that there was absolutely no way I could finish an entire cup of it. Although the owners were nice and gave us the sample, the $24 dollars spent on just two items was too steep to recommend.

Next door to Katmandu’s Momo Station sits B Squared Burger, cranking out American classics. My brother went for the fried chicken sandwich and sweet potato tots. The chicken was perfectly fried: it had a crisp, golden outside, yet it still came out moist and flavorful. Melted cheese lay atop it on a toasted bun, making for a messy but mouthwatering bite. And while the tots were salted well and tasted fresh, they were nothing to write home about. For a $12.50 meal, I’d say it wasn’t too bad.

Our next destination was ACTQ, a Mexican joint serving up classic flavors on an elevated level. My mom and I decided to split the carnitas and pickled vegetables flatbread roti because of its gargantuan size. The roti, a thin tortilla-like bread, was topped with delicious, balanced flavors. 

In one bite, I got creamy black bean spread, tender carnitas, diced white onions (that for me, an anti-raw onion person, I actually didn’t mind), thinly sliced and pickled carrot rounds, jalapenos, pickles and a sprinkling of cilantro. 

The snap of the carrots created a nice texture and the jalapenos added just a little bit of a kick. It came with a pepper sauce, but I enjoyed the roti just fine without it. Splitting with my mom was a great and affordable choice since it was only $13 dollars.

My dad spent $14 bucks on his two crepes from Sofra Creperie. Having gone to France over the summer, our standards were pretty high. Though the flavors were on point, the techniques weren’t very authentic. His dinner crepe, the “SoCal,” had chicken, salty bacon, seasoned spinach, chunks of avocado, ranch, and the best part – ooey gooey melted white cheddar and cream cheese. Beyond the toppings, the crepe itself was thicker than normal and overcooked, leaving a darker, crunchier shell in some spots. 

The desert crepe was cooked just the same, but it reminded me of a more pliable waffle cone, so I didn’t mind too much. The inside was delectable, filled with warm melted peanut butter, complimentary chocolate, sliced banana and a small amount of graham cracker. It was one of my favorite things I tried at Inner Rail Food Hall.

And because one dessert crepe wasn’t enough, we went to Ela’s Creamery for some ice cream. 

Their options were limited: pumpkin spice, strawberry or a swirl of both. After a short deliberation, we went with the strawberry. At first, I wasn’t totally sold. It reminded me of the powdered strawberry Nesquick that one puts in their milk. But, after a few more bites, it grew on me some more. What didn’t grow on me was the price for the quantity. We got one cup, not even swirled high, for a whopping $5 bucks. I don’t think it was worth it. 

All in all, Inner Rail Food Hall was a neat place to check out. The ambience was an A+, and the multitude of seating options, both inside and out, were inviting and unique. They put out some hits and misses in terms of food, but for a fun get together with family and friends, I think the hits outweigh the misses.

So, if you’re ever getting that Mexican, French or even Nepalese food craving, head to Inner Rail – They can fill all your international flavor desires.

Emma Baker
ACTQ’s flatbread rotis have a variety of toppings and flavors to choose from. The carnitas and pickled vegetables flatbread roti had a great combination of richness and acidity. Its giant size made this $13 dollar meal perfect for splitting.