Watson's Shack & Rail

211 N Neil St, Champaign
(217) 607-0168

Recent Reviews

Paul K.

Average at best, with poor service! Chicken wings came out cold and were also tough. The dinner entre was not bad (Watsons chicken). The service was also underwhelming!

J M.

Had an amazing meal here. Great atmosphere too. Made a reservation to be safe as this place is busy, unless you're eating at non-peak hours. I had the Watson's Hot Chicken and potato wedges. Absolutely delicious. Whiskey and Bourbon list is impressive. The list featured mostly whiskeys and bourbons that are rare and small batch. Great beer options too. Food comes out fast, hot and fresh. Downtown Champaign is really cool too. Great experience.

Doriana G.

I'm from Houston, TX and I can certify that what I got from this place was very average. I could've gone to chick-fil- a instead. I got the chicken sandwich and nothing about it impressed me. I've heard the brunch menu was good so maybe I'll come here for brunch instead but that's a big maybe.

Alex R.

This is for the Watson's Food Truck! I was so excited that Watsons bought a food truck and they go to campus and other locations. I was able to try them out this past Market Sunday in Urbana. I had the Chicken and Waffles and they were AMAZING! I think I had them in store once too but they tasted so much better at the food truck. They had a good amount of chicken and waffles for 13$. The employees were also extremely friendly and accommodating. I really hope that they will have a lot of sales from their food truck because they deserve it!!!

Maija B.

Okay this fried chicken was the best i've ever had. so crispy and the hot sauce burned your mouth is enough. the cocktails also slapped. i got one with gin, carrots and ginger that was surprisingly good.

naomi varvel

This place is soooo good and it’s hard for restaurant food to impress me as I cook good food at home. I will say only downside is parking is hard but it’s downtown so that expected. It is also hard to get in if you don’t have a reservation so make sure you have one. Our server was also hilarious! The pictures I added are fried okra, firecracker shrimp po boy and gravy fries. 10/10 definitely recommend.

Julia P.

The portion size is great, we liked the flavour, but in general, the meat the potatoes were too greasy.


Wasn't too sure what to expect but this place kicks alotta butt. Nashville Hot chicken sandwich was very tender, juicy and the right temp. Coleslaw on the sandwich was just the right amount and a heckuva add. I would eat here quite a bit if i lived here!!!

Rhett B.

How did this joint end up in Illinois? Northerners seem to have an aversion for fried chicken places except for KFC and Popeye's. This place would be a joint one would find somewhere down South...well, almost. The building is in downtown Champaign in an old building that has been remodeled. There are several booths against the wall and a bar in a shotgun style. The menu has several fried chicken options such as your basic 3 piece, wings, and sandwiches. The bartender told me they were known for the Watson's Hot, which is a chicken breast dipped in Nashville Hot and served on a bun with slaw and comeback sauce. My Watson's Hot was really good overall with the comeback sauce giving it some zest and the slaw adding a creamy feeling to it. But my Watson Hot wasn't really spicy compared to Nashville Hot standards. I would rate it a 2 out of 10 on my heat scale. There was a little spice at the end of the bites. After I got the sandwich, I saw that for a dollar more I could have made it hotter. I usually don't do that but I should have in this instance. The sandwich came with potato wedges which some were overcooked, but still edible. I'm a sauce-aholic and Watson's make about five different sauces in house. The comeback sauce is like a spicy ranch or a chicken finger sauce like Cane's or Zax's sauce. The two other sauces I had that I recommend are the Cherry Coke BBQ sauce and the White sauce. Unfortunately, they charge I think a $1 for extra sauce (highway robbery). The Cherry Coke BBQ sauce has a sweet and smoky flavor to it. It doesn't really taste like cherry coke but it was still pretty good. The white sauce is the Alabama white sauce (Roll Tide) that is gaining more popularity. It is a mayo-based BBQ sauce that pairs well with chicken and has black pepper, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar mixed in. It's a tangy sauce and if you haven't had it, you have to try it. Like I said, it's almost Southern as there was no fresh-brewed sweet tea, but they did have a fresh-brewed peach sweet tea. It made an excellent substitute for the lack of a sweet tea. I would go back to Watson's. There are lots of chicken options on the menu and lots of homemade sauces to try. The peach sweet tea is better than the standard Yankee unsweet sweet tea. The sandwich needs a little more heat though for my taste.


Watsons is a great dining experience. The staff is awesome, the ambiance is perfect and the food is fantastic. Not to mention a fabulous array of wine beer and spirits, and masterfully crafted cocktails and alcoholic slushies. Brunch on the weekends here is perfection, lunch and dinner spot on.

Sam B.

If I could give this place a 0 I would. We had to wait 45 minutes after ordering to get our overpriced food and when we did it was cold, the chicken tenders were overcooked, and some of the toughest chicken I have ever ever eaten. Watsons is supposedly known for their chicken so I have no clue what happened. Very dissatisfying. Service was average. DEFINITELY WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.

Javier Cervantes

Great loud atmosphere. Apparently the chicken is the go to. Great seasoning and while I saw some crispy stuff coming out of the kitchen our sandwich left some crunch to be desired.That said....not photographed is the SMASH burger. Dear Lord, it's FANTASTIC. One of the best I've ever had and I've eaten a lot of burgers.Run....I said RUN to try this burger.

Anthony Meneely

Went here with family for lunch. Service was fast and on point. Bourbon slush was amazing and perfect grown up drink to go with the Nashville hot entree. Nashville hot entree: dark chicken that was large portion size, extra crispy and had amount of sauce to cover chicken but not drown it. Potato wedges were a large portion and well seasoned. Will go again and reccomend to friends.

Zee W.

My partner and I wanted to go out for a celebratory dinner last night and decided to branch out a bit as we normally always go with Nando Milano or Hamilton Walker's. We were able to get seated right away, and the waitress came around about 10-15 minutes later to take our order. They gave us a recommendation for one of our appetizers so we went with that plus added another app just to be safe. After taking our apps, they scurried off without asking about our entrees. Anyway, I am very glad I trusted my instinct to order another appetizer because my partner and I barely touched the one recommended by the waitress. After 30 minutes of us sitting there barely touching our food and the waitress walking past our table 5 separate times, they finally approached us and stated "the kitchen is about to close, are you guys trying to order anything else?". At this point, I was fuming because on top of ignoring us and making us wait, the waitress had the audacity to approach us 15 mins before the kitchen is set to close to ask if we wanted to order an entree. There were quite a bit of people outside and I'm not one to create a scene, so I just politely asked for the check. Instead of asking us if there was something wrong with the appetizer seeing as we barely touched it and offering something else or some sort of compensation, the waitress goes "did that appetizer fill you guys up?". Again, not wanting to cause a scene, I kept my mouth shut. However, I was utterly baffled that they would even think to say that when they could very well see that between two people, we each took one bite, desperately tried not to spit it out, didn't touch the rest, and declined to take any of it to go. Still starving after a long day, we paid a whooping $40 for horrible, barely eaten appetizers and sprinted across the street to Nando where we enjoyed an amazing meal and exceptional service. This experience solidified my initial opinion of Watson's, and we will be sure to stick to our usual spots from now on.

Araceli M.

Chicken sandwiches are a most. They season the food soooo good and the wings are amazing as well!!!!

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