Rail Epicurean Market debuts in Westfield
Writer / Jane VanOsdol
A combination field-to-fork European-style market and family-friendly cafe is one of the newest businesses hoping to capitalize on the Westfield, Indiana expansion. Rail Epicurean Market is the creation of husband and wife team Toby and Melanie Miles. The two didn’t have to look far for inspiration. Toby’s love of the markets in his native England and Melanie’s dream of providing a venue for local food artisans proved to be a perfect match. Combining their business and creative skills, they opened shop in April 2014 at the refurbished bright red barn tucked onto Park Street two blocks southwest of State Road 32 and US Highway 31.
Melanie’s interest in the local food movement began in May 2012 with her own line of organic jams and jellies, called Preservation. She first featured her products at farmers’ markets and switched to wholesaling in 2013. Not your average-Joe flavors, her popular line includes kiwi pineapple jam, hibiscus jelly, banana butter, blueberry rhubarb jam, strawberry balsamic jam, and caramelized pear and black pepper jam. “Black pepper jam sounds odd, but this one I like to use over brie or on roasted pork. People just love it,” Melanie said.
With the success of her Preservation line, Melanie and Toby decided to pursue their dream and fortunately found the location on Park Street with enough room for both a commercial kitchen and a cafe.
Spotlight Local Vendors
The Mileses feel strongly about promoting community vendors and currently carry products from about 40 mostly local food artisans. Toby points out that what the vendors do is an art form. “They treat it [food] like a sculptor would treat a piece of stone or a painter would treat a canvas,” he said.
Indeed, the results have attracted a loyal following as customers seek out the Rail Epicurean Market for favorite products that include peanut butter, coffee, honey, meats, dairy, condiments, beer, and wine, just to name a few things.
The cafe features pastries, coffee, sandwiches, soups, and salads—handmade by Melanie and Toby every morning in time for grab-and-go purchases or to be enjoyed at the rustic cafe that has both indoor and outdoor seating. (Free Internet is available for those who want to work or just browse the Web.) One must-try is Melanie’s Southern Fruit Tea, a concoction containing sweet tea, pineapple juice, and orange juice with a touch of lemon.
The Rail hosts special pop-up dinners four times a month in an intimate communal setting that can accommodate 14 people. April’s menu was a prix fixe meal (set menu with set price) made up of four courses: an appetizer, salad, entrée, and dessert, with each course paired with a different wine. Be sure to get reservations early in the month, as space is limited.
The Mileses are excited to be located in the middle of the Westfield expansion. Just catty-corner to them is the land that will become Grand Junction Park and Plaza. Toby and Melanie envision special nights at the Rail, hosting a music-in-the-round event with an open mic. People could wander in and out as they please, enjoying a drink and listening to the music. Eventually they want to add a deck on the back with beer gardens, wine, and charcuterie boards.
Overall, the duo couldn’t be more pleased with their new business. ”We live in downtown Westfield, and we want this to be a community place…. Our lives are invested in this community,” said Melanie.
Rail Epicurean Market
211 Park Street
Westfield, IN 46074
Owners: Toby and Melanie Miles
Offers: Breakfast and lunch; specialty dinners
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sunday and Monday