For its first Midwestern outpost, Miller's Ale House, a popular chain across Florida, has brought its successful sports-bar-and-restaurant formula to west suburban Lombard. It's a huge 7,200 square-foot restaurant with a fun atmosphere that can appeal to all: adults, kids, men and women. Typical clientele include sports fans, couples, business-lunchers and families (kids occupy the two pool tables and video games, while parents eat and drink).
The interior is full of wood in every direction—the walls, the booths, the bar and even the space around its countless TVs—giving the place a lodge-like feel. Though Miller's Florida roots are evident (notice the fish hanging on the walls), it does attempt to Chicago-ize this location with Dick Butkus and Brian Urlacher jerseys and photos of the Bulls, the Cubs and the 2005 White Sox World Series victory all over the walls. The food even gets a little regional with its "Chicagoland favorites": Italian beef, a grilled Italian sausage sandwich and Chicago-style hot dogs.
But as the front of the menu advertises, Miller's is the "home of the world-famous zingers." I'd never heard of them, but we decided to try these signature boneless chicken wings. For $9, you get plate full of strips doused in one of eight sauces: mild, medium, hot, Mt. St. Helens, garlic, BBQ, sweet and sour or honey mustard. Miller's also does traditional wings in orders of 10, 20 or 50. The restaurant also offers a large dose of seafood dishes like the Bahamian dolphin (mahi mahi, veggies and spices baked in a foil bag for $14), 35 shrimp for $11 and appetizers like clam strips and fried conch. The large food selection also includes steaks, burgers, pastas and sandwiches.
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of Miller's is its drink menu. There are 30-plus beers on tap, ranging from Old Style and Icehouse to Fat Tire and Guinness. If you choose, you can get one of 13 drink specials every day (most aren't all that special, but who can pass up a $6 pitcher of Miller Lite?). A host of other daily drink and lunch specials change monthly.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Jim Collins