From a glass floor and private wine lockers to an artist alcove and 150-plus year old Douglas Fir support beam, the incoming Rails Steakhouse has a slew of unique features.
Part of a mixed-use facility called Towaco Crossing LLC, this upscale eatery is located at 8 Whitehall Road in the Towaco section of Montville Township.
After breaking ground in April 2012, the estimated completion date is Spring 2014 for Towaco Crossing, which features Rails Steakhouse, six ground floor shops and six second-floor apartments.
Here’s a more indepth look at Rails and check out the video above for a brief sneak peek of the restaurant. For more photos, go to this gallery.
There will be valet parking possibly Friday and Saturday nights.
There are a few sections of the restaurant on all three floors that can be closed off by doors or curtains to be used as a private function room.
One feature of the private room on the main floor is a wall of windows. Since, the windows cover the wall on both the main and second floors, to keep maximum natural light coming and but maintain the main floor as a private function room, a section of the main level ceiling (or second-level floor) nearest to the windows will be made of glass.
There will be TVs located throughout Rails, but they feature a unique twist. Although it’s still in an experimental phase, the televisions will be disguised as mirrors when not in use. A 1-way mirror will overlay the TV, so when it’s on, you can see the TV, but when it’s off, it turns into a mirror, which is framed with heavy wood.
“I’m making a mock-up right now. I just designed it and I’ve got all the materials,” said Jim Stathis, design and construction manager. “We’ll have art showing most of the time on the TVs.”
In the main atrium, there is an elevator and staircase. Artwork is incorporated fully into the design. Near the atrium will be a wall made of a tree-shaped sculpture with candles.
Also near the atrium is a local artist alcove, which will feature local artwork, sculptures and paintings with contact information of the artist for those interested in more information or purchasing.
“We’re doing (everything) domestically and a lot of our contractors are local and a lot of our suppliers are local. The only thing we outsourced overseas is the staircase,” which is from Italy, said Stathis.
One of the art experiments Stathis is working on is a sculpture using about six hallowed out log sections at 150 pounds each. They were hallowed out naturally by mother nature and insects.
“They’re going to be suspended from the ceiling, separated by 18 inches,” he said. “Picture the tree being put back together, but (each log section is) disjointed by 18 inches and a powerful light underneath it so that it shoots out of the (gaps).”
It’s a work in progress and not guaranteed because Stathis has not done this type of sculpture before.
“I’ve been searching for a hallow tree for about 10 years and after Sandy, I saw one on the golf course. I went over there and I claimed it.”
The atrium flows into the main floor lounge, which will feature a Douglas Fir, a standing dead timber harvested from Oregon that's more than 150 years old. The lounge will have the feel of a large living room for cocktails and appetizers and there will be couches, area rugs, lamps, etc … The focal point of the lounge will be a large ‘fire wall.’ Since the lounge is open to the second floor, there is a stone wall that stands two stories high. There will be two fire boxes set into the wall—one fire box for the main floor lounge and another 15 feet up for the second floor patrons. There will be candle features as well climbing up the fire wall.
Beyond the lounge is the dining area with of tables, banquets and a bar with stools that allows customers to peer into the open kitchen.
In another part of the main floor dining room is a serpentine-shaped bar with an exposed second floor catwalk above the bar. The catwalk, which will be a wooden lattice bridge, will be cut in the same serpentine curve to mimic the bar below.
This bar will feature a brick wood-fire oven for flatbreads and appetizers.
One of Stathis’ pet projects is the unique flooring in one of the private rooms on the second level of Rails.
“It’s made out of (cross sections of) trees that were mostly taken down by Sandy. And it goes over the whole length of the floor. The floor will be sanded, finished with grout.
“We have 15 species of trees here … they were all taken down naturally,” he said. “We had a lot of local families come in here with their children. They write their name on a space on the floor and we took a picture of them” writing their name and placing one of the tree cross sections on top.
Beyond this private room, called the Mosaic Room, is the lattice bridge which leads to an open casual lounge, bar, and social space on the second level. There will be couches, bar tables and an entertainment space for potential bands, comedians, etc … There are different areas, which will receive their own unique name.
In a back area of the second level will be a dining and living room type area with a couch and TV.
Check back with Patch on Tuesday for a walkthrough of the rest of Rails, including the basement speakeasy-style area and VIP membership details.