Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 8, 2013

Texas sized honor

Local restaurant gets mention in Texas Monthly

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The February edition of Texas Monthly dishes up some welcome information about an Athens restaurant that has become a favorite of locals since its opening two years ago. 

The Railway Cafe at 210 N. Palestine St. is owned by Justin and Deanne Boswell, who enjoy serving lunch to the downtown crowd, and to those passing through, eager for an unexpected treat. Justin said the Texas Monthly mention, in its recommended section, was unexpected. In fact, he was thumbing through the magazine when he saw the write-up recommending the potato-leek soup, grilled portobello sandwich and roasted-chicken quesadilla.

“I’ve got a lot of good people here who enjoy what they do,” Justin Boswell said. “Everyone puts their heart into it, and tries to do the best they can for the customers. We’re very fortunate,”

The Railway Cafe is only open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, but that doesn’t mean the Boswells aren’t cooking up delicious dishes the rest of the day.

“We do a lot of catering, whether it’s a party for 20 people, or a rehearsal dinner for 60.”

Boswell was at the University of Texas in Austin studying psychology when the desire to become a chef bit. It was a long road from there to opening his own eatery.

“I got a job at a little 24-hour diner, and worked there busing tables and hosting,” Justin said. “Finally, someone didn’t show up, and I got to cook. I started cooking, and realized these people were paying me to do something I really enjoy doing.”

After getting his degree at UT, Justin studied culinary arts at a school in San Fransisco. After serving as chef in a couple of restaurants, Justin’s desire to open his own spot brought him back to a deserted building in Downtown Athens.

“We were trying to think of a name, and kept hearing trains go by,” Justin said. “If you’ve got the door open, you can hardly hear them, but you hear them real well in here.”

The Railway motif is enhanced by the pictures on the wall, showing lonely stretches of track like you might see just a few miles from the restaurant location.

“We try to make everything we can from scratch, with the best ingredients,” Justin said. “I have a tiny little freezer for bread and ice cream, and that’s it.”

Justin Boswell appreciates the regulars who come in to sample something on the varied menu, or order a favorite dish. Now, with the February Texas Monthly in hand, he may be seeing a lot of new faces.