This chain of restaurants, which has 60 sites is expanding rapidly, including the first Massachusetts location in Watertown. Miller's Ale House opened a few months ago, taking over the large space of a former restaurant next to The Home Depot. Despite its newcomer status, the place was filled to capacity on a recent week night with a Bruins playoff game. Its capacity is 360 customers.
Clearly, their formula is working – a menu with lots of popular fried and grilled dishes, many of them with a south-of-the-border flavor, reasonable prices for both the food and drinks, a large and friendly waitstaff, and dozens of televisions for watching sports events. "We get some New York fans, too," says one of six managers, Jeremy Ward, "So, we have a Rangers game on a couple of screens tonight."
Suggested dish: Miller's Alehouse is known for its trademarked "Zingers," boneless chicken wings and specifically, we sampled the Zinger-dilla. Something more than appetizers, all of the Zingers are under $10, and go well with a cool summer drink.
The Zinger-dilla is a large, flat tortilla cut into wedges and stuffed with chicken, two kinds of cheese and sauces. It was good, with thin crispy, tortillas filled with warm, meaty filling. A mix of mild and BBQ sauces topped the dish. Also, the sour cream and shredded lettuce add-ons balanced the other flavors. The beer special that week was Sam Adams drafts for $4 a pint.
The vibe: Lively and party-like, with enthusiastic waitstaff and 74 televisions. With a huge room, the noise level is tolerable.
Cool factor No. 1: You can mix and match 10 different sauces that come with dishes, from mild, garlic and BBQ to Teriyaki, sweet Thai chili and the mouth-numbing Mount St. Helens.
Cool factor No. 2: The salt and pepper both come in mini-grinders rather than shakers, with coarse salt and peppercorns in them.