About Southern Rail

Southern Rail rests comfortably between active local freight tracks in the heart of Carrboro, NC. This is Chapel Hill native Mike Benson's third restaurant design, coupling beautifully restored vintage railroad cars with an industrial steel and glass platform enclosure. Original Art Deco and Nouveau inspired murals have been added throughout the train cars, complemented by colorful decoupage installations, historic signage, and authentic railroad memorabilia, to invoke a journey through historic rail travel and popular culture across the ages. Southern Rail offers a creative blend of charm and edge, both in atmosphere and culinary experience.


Mike Benson has managed restaurants and bars in Washington, DC, Savannah, Georgia, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Café Saint-Ex, in the heart of Washington, D.C., was his first foray into designing his own restaurant (www.saint-ex.com). The vintage aviation motif of Saint-Ex expresses a passion for flight passed to Mike through generations by his grandfather (a WWI biplane pilot) and father (a twin-engine airplane pilot).


Bar Pilar, also in downtown Washington D.C., is centered around a nautical theme inspired by Hemingway's beloved fishing boat, the "Pilar" and the strong willed revolutionary in "For Whom the Bell Tolls." (www.barpilar.com).