Miller’s Bar

July 15th, 2013 by Erik Chudy

stop here!Since I’ve been out of town more than I’ve been around lately, I’m here once again to report on some burgers I’ve eaten in other cities. Some of you might find these reviews completely useless, but I’m always curious to check out the burger scene in other places and I have to maintain my weekly burger intake somehow. This week’s burger comes out of a 72 year old establishment in Dearborn named Miller’s Bar, a place that a friend has been talking about for almost two years and was a long overdue visit. Within the next week I will be writing about a couple of burgers I ate in San Diego, as well as a Vegas burger to satisfy the locals.

We made our way out to Dearborn on a humid, rainy weeknight on a mission for a burger, and it did not disappoint. The burger, the bar, the ambiance…were all better than I could have expected, and well worth the hype I’ve been hearing from him. We had a few cold beers, a couple burgers and a set of Topps baseball cards from 1978 to accompany us through our visit. Shortly after our meal he sent me some of his impressions which really summed things up perfectly; so with little help from me, here’s our experience at Miller’s:

No Way to Miss it.

great barOversized signage beckons 60mph burger seekers. All it tells you is what you need to know – you’ve arrived at “Miller’s Bar.” And make no mistake about it – it’s a bar. No menus.

Sit at the end of the bar, if it’s available. Left End – grab the corner and watch baseball on the old TV. Right End – watch the ladies make Miller’s heralded hamburgers, “This is where all the magic happens,” one burger-lady quipped.

Or there’s always the middle, where the bartenders serve ice cold Miller on tap (what else?). The bartenders came with the place. I can’t imagine them being anywhere else. “I haven’t had the burger in 6 years,” our bartender volunteered, “Work in a burger place, don’t eat the burger. Work in an ice cream shop, don’t eat the ice cream. Work in a brothel…”

No Windows.

roadsideThe Bar is a sanctuary from high-speed Michigan Avenue and it’s Roadside Attractions. It’s intimate, yet spartan with a ‘dated-yet-timeless’ feel. The limited decor is big, just like Michigan Avenue, as we take in the Tigers on the old TV.

The place is lively, with regulars downing pitchers and glancing at the game on a single flat screen. The focus is clearly not on sports, entertainment or interior design. It’s all about the burgers.

No Silverware.

wax paperThe Burger is what it is. Simple, hearty and cooked to perfection. Served the same way for 72 years (with or without cheese and onion) and presented – without presentation – on wax paper.

Fries and onion rings also arrive on wax paper in a basket. Makes sense. A tray with salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, pickles and paper napkins completes the picture at the corner of the bar, where our focus remained for the duration of our stay at Miller’s.

Solid burger. Medium rare, plenty of beef and topped with Swiss. And it’s big enough to handle a healthy portion of the sliced raw onion, served on its own piece of (you guessed it) wax paper.

Onion ring batter tilts toward the south, a distant cousin to bayou diner-style hush puppies. Fries are thin, straight-cut and play second fiddle to the burgers and rings.

No Credit Cards.

perfectionThe utilitarian ‘ATM’ sign painted on the side door is a subtle nod to Miller’s ‘credit-free-environment.’  Sifting through the wallet for some cash is yet another ritual that makes Miller’s what it is. A perfectly fine place to pull out of the rat race for a while to trade a few dollars for some burgers and beer. Just let the Bartender show you the way.

Jim Ed!


Miller's Bar on Urbanspoon

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