All aboard! Next stop: River and Rail Café. Located about 15 minutes from campus, this spot was new to both of us.
River and Rail certainly lived up to its name; the parking lot was right up against a set of train tracks. Taking on the setting of a station general store, the café is filled with decorations evoking the industrial aesthetic, including an actual burning furnace, train memorabilia and signage. Although the name portrays the stop as a café, the location is a good size and could probably hold a decent amount of people. Seating ourselves around 9:45 a.m., we took a booth next to large, bright windows. The café had customers at the time but was not crowded.
Looking at the menu, a few choices stood out to us. A whole section was dedicated to various breakfast sandwiches, and the eggs benedict sounded good. Deliberating while we were getting served our coffee, we decided on the western breakfast sandwich, home fries, two eggs with hollandaise sauce and Herman’s waffle. More on that soon.
When we got to trying our coffee, we looked at each other in pleasant surprise. The coffee was full-bodied and smooth. It was good black, and it was good with cream. This is the most impressive coffee we’ve had so far in these endeavors, and it was reasonably priced at $2 with free refills.
The kitchen was near where we were sitting, so we could smell our food being made, which made us more hungry. Once the server brought us our food, we let the camera have a taste and quickly dug in.
The western breakfast sandwich hit the spot, to say the least. While it was marketed as a scrambled egg sandwich, it had the texture of an omelette, with the peppers and onion giving good bits of flavor throughout. The cheese was creamy and soft. It was an excellent sandwich.
Herman’s waffle was a pleasant surprise. Piled on top of the crisp waffle were blueberries and whipped cream. It was as if there was an entire carton of blueberries under the mountain of whipped cream. With whipped butter and syrup on the side, the crispy waffle and sweet blueberries made for a very sweet treat. At seven dollars, we were hesitant about ordering, but the cook was very generous with the blueberries.
The home fries were well-seasoned and well-cooked. The two eggs were just your average over-easy eggs, but the hollandaise sauce was a great pairing. In fact, combining the sauce with the potatoes and egg yolk resulted in a savory flavor trio.
The one downside to River and Rail had to be the price. For being so out-of-the-way, it wasn’t some surprisingly cheap spot for food. The price for the sandwich felt very good at about five dollars; the hash browns for an additional three felt less so. It was not a deal breaker by any means, but it is important to understand the general price range going into it. For all of the food we ordered, we spent a bit below $30.
Overall, the experience we had was good, and the food was even better. This place is certainly worth a try to anyone tired of the same old sights around Storrs. The food and the atmosphere will be a nice treat for you, especially if you’re big on trains.
Peter Fenteany is the associate opinion editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.