Ask longtime Detroiters where to get a great burger, and they’ll most likely mention Miller’s Bar in Dearborn, where each burger is m ade fresh to order – thousands each week.
QUESTION: What’s the history of Miller’s Bar?
DENNIS: My uncle started it in 1941 and my dad, Russell Miller, made it what it is. He brought in the food. I started doing porter work – janitorial stuff – in the ninth grade and was bartending in 12th grade. My brother Mark and I run it now. We’re open six days a week, and I’m here seven days a week.
QUESTION: What’s the secret to the burgers?
DENNIS: We’re always consistent. It’s 7 ounces of ground round, and my meat guy grinds it fresh every morning. We average about 1,000 burgers a day , and they’re made to order. Some customers have been coming here so long that we start making their order before they even sit down. The most popular order is a cheeseburger, fries and a pop for $9.25. It’s $9.50 if you want onion rings.. We got a new grill that cooks 30 burgers at once. And I have a generator, so if the power goes out, we can keep everything running.
QUESTION: Miller’s has quite a reputation outside of Michigan, right?
DENNIS: Two years ago, a guy from GQ came in. He was going around the country only to places that cooked burgers to order, and I heard this was the only place he ate two. We came in No. 8 on the list of the top 20 burgers – I thought we should’ve been No. 1. A couple of months ago, we were in the Wall Street Journal. Oprah’s supposed to send somebody in. I send her a letter and some photo’s every couple months.
QUESTION: Who eats here?
DENNIS: Ford workers, families, everyone. People come with their kids, then the kids bring their kid s. We’ve had players from the sports teams. We had Tom Selleck in here. Renee Zellweger and Jack White used to com e in a lot when they were dating. A lot of people who’ve moved out of town will come in straight from the airport, then come in again on their way to the airport.
QUESTION: You get a crowd at lunch and dinner. Ever thought of expanding?
DENNIS: We added the back room in 1963, and there’s no plans to expand. I think people expand and then lose what they are. People like to see the bar, see the line of people when they walk in. People like to see the hustle and bustle.
By Emiliana Sandoval, Free Press Special Writer