Restaurant News & Reviews

Miller's serves it up with soul in Dublin

The smell of good cookin' wafting down the sidewalk on South Lawrence Street is the first clue that if you've come searching for soul food, you've come to the right place.

Inside the little diner, handwritten menus on poster board advertise daily specials such as neckbone and chitterlings. African-American themed art adorns the walls around small, cozy tables. At the head of the serving line, another poster promotes Saturday's concert by soul legend Percy Sledge at nearby Theatre Dublin.

For a half-century, Miller's Soul Food in downtown Dublin has served up its home cooking for the locals, as well as for a few notable passersby.

I was there hoping to find more of the delicious ribs I enjoyed on my first visit about 15 years ago. I was disappointed to learn that Friday is ribs day, and we had come on pigs feet Wednesday.

I must confess that I ... uh ... chickened out with the pigs feet and opted for baked chicken. I asked for white meat, but the lady serving me politely noted that there was only dark. The white meat, she explained, had gone into the dumplings.

I stuck with the chicken, which was tasty and tender.

Collards and rutabagas would have to do as my "soul food" selections. The rutabagas were melt-in-your-mouth sweet and cooked to just the right texture - not too tough and not too soggy.

There's an art to cooking collards, and Miller's has it mastered. I've never been a big fan, but these were delicious. So good were the collards and rutabagas - and chicken - that I almost ignored the garden peas in their separate bowl.

My wife went with the fried chicken. She bragged about it, so I gave it a taste. Miller's has mastered that, too.

The chicken's batter was crisp and crunchy, sealing in the juicy - but not greasy - meat. I've never tasted better.

The cornbread muffins were just OK, but the sweet tea easily passed the sweet-but-not-too-sweet inspection.

The only disappointment was the desserts, which were not prepared at the restaurant. We shared a slice of custard pie and were less than impressed.

Dinners are served in a cafeteria-style line and come with a meat and three vegetables. For $6, you can choose from selections such as neckbone, fried and baked chicken, pigs feet and cubed steak. The $7 choices include fish, ribs, ham, salmon and, yes, chitterlings.

The staff at the family-owned restaurant was friendly. They were patient while we made our selections, and when my wife asked for butter for the cornbread, they brought almost a half-stick.

Later I searched the Web and found Miller's mentioned on the site of Elisabeth von Trapp, a singer whose grandmother inspired the "The Sound of Music." She visited during a cross-country tour.

"We had the best Southern fried chicken at Miller's Soul Food in Dublin, Georgia," von Trapp wrote on her Web site.

Give Miller's a try, and chances are you'll agree. I plan to go back, but I'm not waiting 15 years this time.

Miller's Soul Food

115 South Lawrence St., Dublin

Three and a half stars

Phone: (478) 272-5983

Hours: 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday

Payment: Cash

Prices: $6-$7 dinners

Reservations: No

Dress: Casual

Children's menu: No

Vegetarian selections: Yes

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Noise level: Low

Alcohol: No

Latest health code rating: 92

To contact Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.

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