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Miller's Burgers - Really? [Dearborn MI]

I worked in Dearborn for years...I have been to Miller's many times. I know I am in the minority when I say this, alas I know I am not alone. Sure the beer honor system is a novelty and having no plates is cute, but I have NO idea why people fawn over the burgers there. I get the Red Coat Tavern burger thing...but not Miller's. I have asked many time in other threads but I have to ask once in it's own thread.

Please tell me what the hell makes people fawn over that burger. Please?

Edit: Sorry I did not include the city on the thread title. Dearborn MI

Red Coat Tavern
31542 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, MI 48073

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  1. Miller's has truly wonderful burgers. A bit overpriced. But truly wonderful. You have to get the baked beans to fully understand the Miller's experience--as well as waiting in line for an hour at lunch.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dearborn barkis

      Every time I ask I get many answers about the experience.....but no one tells me what is special about the burger. Again...I have worked and lived not far from Miller's for over a decade and have been there many times. Even saw Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs in there once. I am NOT saying the burger is bad....I am just saying it is not special by any means.

      1. re: JanPrimus

        Maybe it's the grillmaster, JP?

        Someone manning a flattop to fill an order is very different from a grillmaster who knows his/her product and the stove in use.

        1. re: RedTop

          My good friend Summerfield was aghast at seeing the grillmaster at Miller's pressing the patties on the grill, expunging the juices to the flames. But the burger tasted good, nevertheless.

          Summerfields Restaurant
          46435 State Route 248, Chester, OH 45720

      2. re: dearborn barkis

        The baked bearns? Seriously? They taste like Busch's Baked Beans out of the can.

        Baked Beans
        103 S Main St, Lake City, MI 49651

      3. Funny that the Google map on the sidebar shows Red Coat but not Miller's.

        3 Replies
        1. re: dearborn barkis

          I guess both of us had to pick a fight tonight :) - We both attack institutions and have differing opinions. I love a good food fight!

          1. HeHe Jan. I have worked in Dearborn for 27 years. One of the first recollections I had at Ford was a coworker who took to me to Miller's. He said it was the best burger in Michigan. I have no evidence to refute it.

            2 Replies
              1. re: JanPrimus

                The burgers are indeed wonderful. No salt, no additives. Just grilled ground round. But I don't know where Mr. Miller gets his meat, unless it's heaven.

            1. I first went to Millers about 5 years ago and liked it and go there annually. I went there last summer and was disappointed. It seems like the quality of the burger has gone downhill. I took a peek behind the counter, and the burgers looked like they were now preformed and came out of a box. To me, the burgers are good in a greasy plain sort of way. Are they the best in Michigan? I don't think so. I actually think their are a few places like Red Coat and my bbq that are better. I also think that 5 guys is better. But again, that is just my opinion.

              1 Reply
              1. re: FetaCheese

                I will fully admit to loving a Five Guys Burger myself.

              2. Okay, I now am on an actual computer and can weigh in on this.

                I used to be a die-hard Miller's supporter myself, but I can say that I don't get there all that often due to my location, and the last few times I have been there, it's been on the disappointing side. I fully admit to being taken in by the honor system used there; I think it's quaint, trusting, and I quite enjoy that. I distinctly remember the burger being better at least 10 years back, though. The bottom line for me is this: if they're going to charge what they do for their burgers (and it's a stinking *lot*), and I'm going to have to wait the abysmally long time for them that I do, said burgers had better be really amazing, and these days, they're not, or at least not consistently so. That's a pretty big problem.

                I am really, *really* confused, though, about the Five Guys' thing. Folks: I've had a fair number of Five Guys burgers now, and while there's certainly nothing wrong with a FG burger, neither is it anything to write home about...*at all*. It's functional, and sure: it's better than McDonald's, but I honestly couldn't say that it's any better than Wendy's.

                I've been consistently happy and impressed with the Cocktail Hour burger served at Roast. It's an absolute pleasure to bite into that thing, at only $3. The only thing I might critique with that burger is the english muffin for the bun, but that's honestly personal preference. The quality of the meat (both the beef and the bacon), and the proper preparation of the egg, and cheese (if you like that sort of thing) really comes together and sings. Few things better than this before a game at the Joe.

                1 Reply
                1. re: boagman

                  (Five Guys) I think the thing for me that would not be for you is the culmination of the ingredients. There is a certain total sum of the parts things going on and I want to include the cheese in this. I know your feelings on cheese so I could understand your perspective.

                2. I think it's time that ALL of us admit that Miller's, Red Coat and The Sidetrack Tavern have serious competition for best burger in metro Detroit. I think there are a score or more of store owners intent on serving the absolute best burger they can. Miller's, Red Coat and Sidetrack no longer lead the pack by comfortable lengths.

                  12 Replies
                  1. re: RedTop

                    the allure of millers is not the taste or quality of the burgers ~ it's the idea that we are connected to a great corner bar where there are no computers and our word is all it takes to pay the bill ~~
                    --and where does THAT happen any more ?
                    frankly, the burgers are an aside to the rest of the experience ~~
                    try dunlevey's bar in farmington for a great burger ~~ and a heart-warming season-inspired atmosphere ~~ red coat is also terrific ~~
                    just steer clear of mcdons and the rest of the swill and keep it local !!

                    1. re: luckytobeme

                      My own corner bar does burgers better than Miller's in my own opinion. My corner bar is a $h!t hole with lousy beer selection but I still like to drop in for a burger and a bud. Maybe Miller's has the reputation...but my reality is that you can find these kinds of bars around every corner. If the burgers suck....say something. Tell them where to get a good patty! Tell them that your willing to come in often for a good burger. Tell them you will tell your friends online where to get a good burger.

                      I found a good burger (although not a great burger) at my local...check your local out.

                      I know I did not mention my corner bars name.....it is your duty to find your own!

                      1. re: JanPrimus

                        no ~ that's not my duty ~ my duty is to spread the word on something i like ~ which i have ~ and you have not

                        1. re: luckytobeme

                          I have reported on many places I like (including burger bars). Please look at my history and past post on the site....they go back a few years...not a few hours like some. :)

                          1. re: JanPrimus

                            got it ~ thanks for clarification ~

                        2. re: JanPrimus

                          "I know I did not mention my corner bars name.....it is your duty to find your own!"

                          Bravo, JP! There are so many people who rely on chowhound, Yelp, urbanspoon, etc. for all of their dining recommendations. While these web sites are all excellent resources, and I don't think any of us here can say that chow *hasn't* led us to some delicious bites, these web sites have become sort of a crutch for people.

                          Many people will *only* go to restaurants they read about on these sites. They never bother to seek out a new restaurant, find their own diamonds-in-the-rough. They're never the ones doing the digging and discovering, letting everyone else know about a special food find.

                          Thank you, JP, for being one of the culinary Christopher Columbuses of metro Detroit!

                          1. re: jjspw

                            A great corner bar is not a destination bar...to me it is a place that you go visit your neighbors and run away from the destination type places. I may like the burger there more than Miller's but that to me does not qualify it as a great burger worth mentioning either. Move into my corner of the city and maybe we can go have a cheap beer there together. Until then...it's my stink hole swill bar with lots of graffiti on the bathroom stalls.

                            1. re: JanPrimus

                              I'm with you; let me give you an example. Our favorite hamburger bar happens to be the Rusty Nail. Nothing special, just really good burgers, Jonathon, excellent waitresses and, of course, Moose. One evening, Donna and I had paid and were getting ready to leave when I had a stroke. The whole left side. Jonathon called EMS while Moose held my head in a cool towel. After the guys picked me up, they even called our other haunts and spread the news! I had visitors at the hospital almost before I even got there! We still go to the nail every week and the neat thing is that nothing has changed; Moose is just as brusk as ever, waitresses just the same, as if nothing ever happened. It's just---the Nail. I love it. I don't know if I made my point. I guess its that a place doesn't need a "hook" to make it special, just good experiences.

                              1. re: SonyBob

                                the rusty nail in clinton twsp on groesbeck just north of 15 mile?

                                1. re: xman887

                                  I am betting Canton. My mom used to go to that Bar when she lived in the area.

                                  1. re: JanPrimus

                                    That's the one, JP. There can be only one Moose!

                            2. re: jjspw

                              As far as relying on Chow Hound why not? I have wasted time and money on countless of establishments that serve crap. I probably should let them know about their food ,but I think they already know and really don't care. I still venture out to try some new joint, but when I gotta have some good grub I use a recommendation. Maybe instead of raving about the places we like, we ought to list the places we tried and hated. And thank you JP for all the leg work and stomach aches.

                      2. For me the allure of Millers is quality beef that is ground fresh daily, cooked on a well seasoned griddle and to the temperature that is ordered (I am very happy that you have a found your own great local joint, but most places around me seem to think 140ยบ is rare)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rcloud

                          Have you been to Millers in the past few years? You are not speaking of the Millers that exists today. I order my burger medium and receive it well every time. The buns are from Kroger.
                          I go there to appease my inlaws and for the pickles and raw onions. Oh! And they have Squirt.

                        2. I am with you on this one JP....I have worked in Dearborn for 22 years. Millers is just okay, not great.

                          1. I have to agree with you... I worked within walking distance and was there many times. I don't get it.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: berkleybabe

                              Detroit's burgers are getting some love from seriouseats.com and it seems they 'get' Miller's ;)


                              1. re: rcloud

                                Because it's "no frills," not because of the burger. And, can we all just admit that Miller's has a rep, regardless of how good their food is? This is why it keeps coming up. Is there a "Board of Fame" where we retire a resto because it's been discussed to greasy death?

                                1. re: amandaqtpie

                                  It was mentioned in an article that said Detroit should be recognized as a great burger city... To imply that they didn't mean they have a great burger is ludicrous, almost as much as suggesting that Miller's serves Kroger buns. Although, I do agree that if your idea of the prefect burger is a burger cooked to medium than Miller's isn't for you.

                                2. re: rcloud

                                  Do they only "get it" because someone told them they should? I personally think that is all that it has left going for the burger. History.

                                  I don't know if the burger has changed over the years, our palates have changed over the years or it is a combination of the two.

                                  1. re: JanPrimus

                                    It very well could be a combination of the two, but I'm pretty sure that the burger I've had the last few times I've been there was of inferior quality to the ones long before that.

                                    1. re: boagman

                                      someone explained this means i agree ~~

                                    2. re: JanPrimus

                                      While this of course could be the case, I tend to trust Kenji Lopez-Alt's opinion of burgers after trying his blue-label burger blend. Also, George Motz is pretty well versed in burgers. Although, I'm not saying Miller's is the greatest thing ever... I just think it's the best that is offered in the area.

                                      1. re: rcloud

                                        When burgering in Dearborn I highly recommend Howells. Its a couple of blocks up Michigan from Millers and is one of my favorites anywhere. Howells definitely fits the "corner bar" description.