Several months ago, I noticed a new “pizzeria” had sprung up out of nowhere, not far off Lakeland on Highway 471 in Brandon. As it turns out, Miller’s Grill and Pizzeria is both new and old; many of you are likely familiar with it, as it was a fixture downtown for many years.
Owner Mark Miller cites the exodus of several businesses from downtown Jackson as one of the main reasons for his decision to make the move. “Losing a lot of those customers really cut into my bottom line,” he said.
However, Miller discovered that a perceived negative can sometimes turn into a positive. “When we were closing, I found out that a large percentage of our customer base downtown…worked in Jackson, but they lived out here.”
Miller cites good word-of-mouth as contributing to his success in the current location. I can attest to that: A friend of mine raved about the pizzas, bolstering my desire to give the place a try. I was not disappointed.
Wednesday’s Bacon Double Cheese Burger Pizza
The Skinny: The server told me that Miller’s is best-known for its pizzas and burgers, so I decided to mix the best of both worlds. When Miller’s was still located downtown, this was their Wednesday specialty pizza. All of those daily pizza specials are on the menu full-time at the new location, which will surely please devotees of their specialty pies.
Miller’s menu boasts that their crust is made and rolled by hand daily, and they’re not lying. (You can see it happening behind the plexiglass barrier separating the kitchen from the dining area). The effort is worth it; the crust was well-seasoned and tasty.
When my pizza first came out, I was a little concerned that there wouldn’t be enough topping–I like my pizzas to be loaded down, but I had no cause for concern. The topping load was generously proportioned to the thinner crust. Speaking of “proportion”… kudos, Miller’s, for putting just the right amount of mustard on this pizza. I’ve had cheeseburger-esque pizzas before that went overboard with it, and you guys did it just right. The small was more than enough food for just me.
Oakdale Onion Rings
The Skinny: These are some of the best onion rings I’ve tasted. Mr. Miller himself said it best, “So many places are getting away from doing homemade onion rings.” We hand-batter…and we try to keep them as fresh as we can.”
The onion rings were flaky, crispy, and delicious, and Miller’s homemade comeback was pretty tasty, as well.
Turtle Brownie with Ice Cream
The Skinny: You can get some version of this dessert at many a chain restaurant, but they don’t usually feature a brownie that’s homemade. The brownie, while not the best I’ve ever had, was still quite good. I appreciated the fact that the pecans were a topping and not baked into the brownie itself; it’s just a personal preference of mine. The portion size was very generous, so this is a meal-finisher that’s great to share. I didn’t, though.
Chicken and Waffle
The Skinny: I’m ashamed of myself. I try to approach each dish free of bias, but in this instance I failed. It’s not that I expected it to be bad; I just didn’t have the highest of hopes for it based on Miller’s reputation of being more of a burger-and-pizza place. Frankly, it was an afterthought. I had already eaten the other three dishes on a previous visit, but when I went back to interview the owner, I decided to try it on a whim.
Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a better dish I’ve had in Jackson for under ten bucks. If it cost twice as much, it would still be worth it. I’ve had chicken and waffles elsewhere, and the Miller’s version holds its own. Everything about it makes your taste buds happy. Everything else I tried ranged from good to very good, but the Chicken and Waffle was by far my favorite.
Owner’s Recs: Miller cites the Pesto Burger as his new favorite menu item. His “old” favorite menu item is Friday’s South Philly Pizza.
The Food: I bounced all over the menu over the course of two trips to Miller’s Grill & Pizzeria. Why two trips? Well, because I haven’t had time for twelve trips yet. Suffice it to say that I’m now one of its biggest fans.
The Atmosphere: There’s a cheery mood about Miller’s. It’s decorated in bright primary colors and has a very family-friendly vibe. Four flat-screen TVs allow for viewing of whatever game is on, and there’s an outside dining area that’s going to be an attractive place to kick back and enjoy a pizza and brew whenever it gets to be (reliably) warm.
Insider Tip: There’s good news for those who were fans of the plate lunches at the downtown location. Miller plans to roll them out at the new location within the next two to four weeks.