Located on Commercial Street just a short few steps from Michael’s Cigar Bar and behind the DCU Center is the latest brainchild of the Niche Hospitality Group, the Railers Sports Tavern. Looking to capitalize on the city’s ability to bring professional hockey back, the Railers Sports Tavern combines local sports history with a rich New England sports heritage to bring you modern takes on pub classics, such as wings, pretzels, soups, and sandwiches. Sprinkle in some comfort food classic and a generous bar menu, and you have the makings of a popular spot to hit up before or after the Worcester Railers take the ice.

Having not been here before, I figured I would start with a staple and try the bone-in buffalo wings ($10). A generous portion of wings arrived doused in classic buffalo sauce and my personal favorite dipping sauce, ranch. The wings were crispy and not over-fried. The sauce was a very nice balance of flavor and heat, as I did not find myself reaching for my beer every bite. I was able to enjoy the slow, cumulative heat that the buffalo wing sauce provided, which was a nice departure from the “burn your mouth off and kill your taste buds” sauce you might be used to.

Now for the main attraction… the Railer Burger. Given that I was particularly hungry this evening, I decided to splurge for the Double OT ($14), which is two six-ounce patties, American cheese, sliced onion, pickles and Smokey Tavern sauce on a potato roll. As if that wasn’t enough, I decided to top it with the house-made Italian sausage (+ $2). After ordering, I was not quite sure what I had gotten myself into, but knew that I was going to leave full. Upon arrival, the burger was just as large as I thought it might be. Piled high with all the toppings, it almost needed its own scaffolding to hold it up and I was somehow going to have to become an anaconda, so I could unhinge my jaw if I had any hope of eating this Goliath. When I was able to settle in for my first bite, I found that the burger patties, while juicy were slightly overcooked. This is the most common problem that I have found with many of the burger restaurants I have tried. Unfortunately, there is a fine line between medium and ruined and most of the time the burgers are not very forgiving when it comes to this line. The burger patty was seasoned nicely and the America cheese provided a gooey cascade over the patties and other ingredients. The pickles were thick and added a nice tang of acidity to the burger. Although somewhat overlooked and underappreciated, sometimes a pickle is what you need to add a different textural element as well a flavor profile that helps elevate the burger from average to amazing. The house-made sausage was actually the best part of the dish as it was a unique texture as sausage “crumbles” and was seasoned beautifully. It was actually a very inventive use of the sausage, as it took the place of bacon as a garnish on the burger (even though bacon is still an option as well). I actually would have liked a little bit more of the tavern sauce. It was a delightful combination of BBQ sauce and possibly mayo creating an aioli that was rich and creamy. I kept finding myself dunking the French fries in any excess that dripped off the burger.

Looking back at this experience at the Railers Sports Tavern, my first impression was that it was a relatively new restaurant that was still working its kinks out. It is definitely a location that I would venture to again the next time New Found Glory plays the Palladium or when arena football makes its debut again. With a good size menu and relatively affordable prices for the type of food they offer, it’s worth a second visit. If you have a favorite burger place that you want to see featured on Mass Foodies, tweet me @EDioufUC5 and your suggestion might find it’s way on here next month. Until next time…

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Spavia Natick, MA