Make Tracks to Rail Trail Flatbread Co.
By Ellen Oliver
Just opened in Hudson, the Rail Trail Flatbread Co. may be the place to find your friends and neighbors. Situated on Main Street, RTFB appears to be the place to be, so be prepared for a wait along with good food. We went on a Friday night about 7:30 pm and had to wait about 30 minutes for a table.
There is an ample waiting area with benches in full view of the kitchen’s brick oven. There’s also a bar a few steps up from the main entrance where you can watch the two large screen TVs and order one of the 20 beers on tap from their 30-foot bar. We found that some of the beers listed on the menu online weren’t available, but there were plenty of interesting substitutes listed on the restaurant menu and on a chalk board in the bar area. It’s worth looking at both the menu and chalk board list since some beers were only listed in one place.
RTFB boasts an impressive list of craft beers on draft, complete with alcohol content, so you know how much of a kick you’re ordering. They also have bottled beers, wines and specialty cocktails. Distracted by the unusual beers, we only ordered one cocktail, the Honey Pot High Ball. We have no idea if it was named with respect to one of Stow’s fine orchards, but we certainly enjoyed it. The High Ball had apple-infused whiskey, house-made grenadine, fresh lemon juice, and house-made clove bitters. This interesting mix didn’t conjure up apple aromas, but was a fruity blend with a light (and perfect) touch of cloves.
For appetizers, we ordered truffle fries, calamari, and the spicy stuffed banana pepper. The truffle fries ($4.99) were crispy with an earthy taste from the truffle salt. They were topped with feta cheese and sprinkled with fresh thyme – very different fries, blending unusual items in a delicious way.
The calamari ($8.29) had lots of tentacles and wasn’t spicy, served with a dill dipping sauce. But the best part was the other accompaniment, the fried pickles. RTFB needs to put these on their menu by themselves. The dill sauce worked well with the pickles, but we found it too salty for the squid.
The banana pepper ($6.50) was stuffed with four cheeses spilling out the top and served with two pieces of bread, grilled in the oven. The marinara sauce was good, but the spicy pepper/cheesy blend didn’t really need further accompaniment. It had a spicy punch, mellowed by the cheese.
When it comes to dinner the menu is short, but customizable. The entrées include flatbread pizzas, pastas (chicken parm, shells and cheese, and lasagna primavera) and a hamburger. There are some salads listed on the restaurant menu and on the specials board that were not on the website menu.
The flatbread pizzas come with four specialty selections (Farmhouse Veggie, Buffalo Chicken, Spinach Rockefeller, and Hawaiian). Or you can build your own with selections of interesting sauces, toppings, and cheeses.
We ordered the Buffalo Chicken pizza ($9.49 small/ $14.45 large) and then created our own ($8 small, $11 large to start). We picked garlic sauce (from choices of crushed tomato, buffalo, BBQ, creamed spinach), added roasted red peppers ($1 small, $1.50 large and other selections include zucchini, roasted banana peppers, butternut squash and Kalamato olives) and the home-made sausage (pepperoni, chicken, steak, chorizo and bacon are also available, $1.50 small, $2 large). We topped the order with a three cheese blend, but could have selected blue cheese, ricotta, provolone or feta, $1.50 small, $2 large.
The flatbreads used in the pizzas were perfectly cooked – crispy, but not burnt. It held up well to the toppings and is served with ample bare areas ringing the edge, not a positive if you prefer your toppings to spread to the edge.
The Buffalo Chicken pizza was described by one of our diners as a good choice for “people who don’t like buffalo chicken.” It was meant as a compliment to describe the creamy balance of the chicken, blue cheese and buffalo sauce, so no single taste overpowered the others.
We found the pizza we created to be light on the garlic sauce and a read of our bill showed that part of our order hadn’t made it to the kitchen. The homemade sausage was very good, laden with rosemary, which was also sprinkled on the pizza. The roasted peppers were tendrils, not chopped bits, so there was a strong pepper bite. The base of the pizza was a light tomato sauce, so the garlic sauce wasn’t missed in texture, just flavor.
Two of our diners had visited the restaurant previously and enjoyed the veggie Farmhouse Market pizza ($9.49 small, $14.45 large) and reported it had a nice variety of veggies, but individual pieces weren’t too heavy with vegetables.
Rail Trail Flatbread Company is the new kid in town and you should expect a wait, although they take reservations for parties of eight or more. They seem to still be working out a few minor kinks, which is to be expected with any new restaurant.
As my colleague Ann Needle summed up after her visit, “With decent food and a warm atmosphere and reasonable prices, I suspect it will survive quite well there, filling a niche between the upscale Chloe and the laid-back Harvest Cafe. It’s also a change of scene for those tired of the Horseshoe Pub, though they should not expect the same extensive menu.”
Rail Trail Flatbread Company
33 Main St
Hudson, MA 01749
Fri -Sat 11am–1am
The kitchen closes at 10pm on week nights and 11pm on weekends