Jen and Matt outside their restaurant, Rod & Rail

Rod & Rail: More than your Neighborhood Pub

Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. has been happily supporting local food spots since 2020 by spotlighting a new one each month. The trust and estate planning law firm is sending us out to great local restaurants like Rod & Rail, with engaged owners who love creating great drinks and meals for regulars and out-of-towners alike.

At a recent networking event, Rod & Rail served up some of its fried cauliflower. It was addictive. Not only because it was fried so well (lightly and so fresh) but because it was cauliflower and thus made you feel like you were eating well!

We went back to find out more about the place. We met the owners Matt and Jen Hennessy who welcomed us in and cooked up enough delicious dishes to let us know that our fried cauliflower experience was not a one-off.

Rod & Rail friesThe way they approach french fries tells you everything you need to know about this place. It's a five-step process before they're approved to go on your plate.

  1. hand cut the potatoes
  2. 24 hour water soak in the refrigerator
  3. blanch them in low temperature oil
  4. refrigerate for another 24 hours
  5. fry them immediately before serving

These are heavily pampered french fries coming out of the kitchen!

Bag O' DonutsThe Hennessy's have created a neighborhood pub that's worth traveling for. The space used to be Ma's Donuts in Buzzards Bay back in the 1960s and 70s. Rod & Rail pays tribute to that beloved spot by offering up their "Bag O' Donuts" - fresh hot donut holes served with house made caramel sea salt on the side (we had the sweet potato donuts!)

Matt's meticulous approach to french fries applies to everything on the menu. They made us a smash burger that knocked our socks off.

Paper thin onions on the grill
paper thin onions


Smashing the burger
smashing the burger

grilling the brioche


The finished smashburger
the finished smashburger

The burger is smashed onto the grill atop onions sliced so thin that they disintegrate, leaving behind just the flavor. Add the seasonings and toppings with a buttered and grilled brioche bun and -- perfection! Matt jokes, "A burger a day keeps the doctor away!"

Matt enjoying his smashburgerMatt's playfulness in the kitchen comes through when he throws a healthy chunk of butter onto the griddle and calls out, "we're not afraid of butter!"

Jen Hennessey behind the bar at Rod & RailWhile Matt is having fun with the food, Jen is having fun out front. She's designing creative craft cocktails and mocktails that feature house made simple syrups (like triple berry syrup), sizzling garnishes and more. She calls them "modern takes on classic cocktails."

She mixed us up a few fan favorites: the Smoke Ya Greens, Train Berry and Rita Rita.

Smoking the rosemary
Smoking the rosemary

Smoke Ya Greens
Smoke 'Ya Greens

Three popular cocktails. from left to right, Train Berry, Smoke 'Ya Greens, 'Rita 'Rita
Three popular cocktails: Train Berry, Smoke 'Ya Greens, 'Rita 'Rita (left to right)


The space reinforces the idea of comfort. Red brick walls with thick stone arches that look like they've been there a hundred years. Local artists use the space to display their art on a rotating basis. You can sit there all night and keep ordering more.

Interior of Rod & Rail

We don't know what to tell you to get, because it's all so good, and because there are a LOT of specials that change weekly. We just know you have to go.

Rod & Rail, 149 Main Street, Buzzards Bay. Closed on Mondays, 4 to 9 Tuesdays through Fridays; 12 to 9 on weekends.

Photos by Liam Connor.

We hope you enjoyed this post, which is part of a series of blog posts celebrating local food spots, sponsored by Surprenant & Beneski, P.C., the premier estate planning and elder law practice serving clients in Southeastern Massachusetts. Surprenant & Beneski can help you prepare the foundational documents needed to facilitate healthcare, financial and legal decisions should a medical crisis occur. Early planning can save money, heartache and angst during a temporary bout of incapacity or a long-term care event. Getting your estate plan in order gives you peace of mind. Find out more about Surprenant & Beneski here.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss learning the next favorite food spot, sign up here.

The storefront of Toast N JamLast post in the series: They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At Toast N Jam in New Bedford, they treat breakfast like it's the most important meal of the day. Find out more here.

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1 thought on “Rod & Rail: More than your Neighborhood Pub”

  1. Diane and Jerry

    Rod and Rail is great! We have been going there since they opened. They serve awesome food and great creative drinks, all with a friendly and informed staff. Jenn mixes up some interesting and tasty cocktails and Matt and the kitchen staff are always coming up with creative dishes that are always outstanding. The wait and bar staff are friendly and well informed about the food menu and craft bar menu, all with a smile. Great place!

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