Iron Rail Brewing

Matthew L. Self

Sunday, Nov. 18, a brand new restaurant was welcomed to Topeka. Iron Rail Brewing, a great place for Washburn students to mingle and have a good time while enjoying a refreshing atmosphere that reflects the railroad history of Topeka. This new bar and restaurant features a wide variety of locally brewed beers, courtesy of brewmaster Don King, as well as delicious barbecue cooked by the general manager of Iron Rail Brewing, Mike Babb, that is sure to attract more than a few hungry bellies to the downtown area. King and Babb make an impressive duo, bringing years of culinary experience together with a professional scene.

Iron Rail Brewing is located at 705 S. Kansas Ave in downtown Topeka and is very distinctive due to its black and white paint sign displaying the brewery name. It pays tribute to Topeka’s long history as a railroad town, and the interior will feature many different murals that each tell of a different corner of Topeka’s history with the railroad. The colorful, floor-to-ceiling murals of trains will please the eye while Babb, and their head chef, Johnathan Langer, will no doubt give Topekans some of the best local food in town.

Iron Rail Brewing pays homage to Cyrus K. Holliday, one of the original founders of Topeka, who heavily invested in the Santa Fe railroad and helped to make Topeka the city it is today. Since the railroad history of Topeka is an integral part of the restaurant, the owners thought it necessary to include Holliday’s involvement with Topeka and the railroad. On every menu in Iron Rail Brewing, they have the following message written by Cyrus K. Holliday, which announced his investment in the burgeoning railroad development in the capital city.

“The child is born and his name is ‘success.’ Let the Capital City rejoice. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Rail Road will be built beyond a peradventure. Work will commence immediately. Please inform the good people of Topeka and Shawnee County of the brilliant future awaiting them,” Holliday wrote.

Iron Rail Brewing has remained a popular place in its first couple weeks of business and has remained packed during the lunch and dinner hours of the day. In its first week of business, there were lines out the door as people waited to be among the first to taste some of the home-brewed beer and homemade barbeque.

Don King, the brewmaster of Iron Rail Brewing, said that Topekans should be very excited to see a new restaurant open up in the downtown area.

“Our restaurant is just one of the many great locations in the downtown area and is part of the objective of many business owners in Topeka to see the historic downtown area revitalized. We serve good food and good beer that is unique to the Iron Rail and Topeka. Students at Washburn are likely to find something to interest them at this place, whether that be the barbecue or the beer.”

Mike Self Jr., a former student of Washburn and a resident of Topeka, said that Iron Rail Brewery was a great place to get some local food.

“They serve great food there and even better beer. The scenery was really cool and I liked how the owners went to such great lengths to include as much history of the railroad of Topeka into the construction of their restaurant as they could,” Self said.

Iron Rail Brewing, though open for business now, is still undergoing construction. The owners hope to expand their business into the basement area over the next few months to better serve the throngs of people who now frequent their business over the lunch hour. Continued construction will not get in the way of those who come to the restaurant, however, and will conclude soon.

Be sure to come and visit this incredible new addition to the downtown area and bring a few friends to share in the incredible history of our city and enjoy some of the local dishes our city has to offer. Iron Rail Brewery is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday through Saturday.