Celebrating 40 Years: It’s All About Family at Miller’s Seafood and Steakhouse
It’s no surprise that after 40 years, Miller’s Seafood & Steakhouse still feels like a place to come home to each and every time you walk through the doors and relax in their dining room infused with Outer Banks charm.
After all, at Miller’s Seafood & Steakhouse, you are not only surrounded by great food and a warm and welcoming atmosphere – you are also surrounded by family.
While the menu has evolved and the restaurant expanded since it first opened four decades ago, some things never change at Miller’s, where Outer Banks hospitality and a family atmosphere are as much a part of the menu as it’s deliciously fresh menu items.
“I’ve always known that I was going to get into the business ever since I was ten years old,” says Brian Miller, who owns Miller’s with his wife, Beth. The two managed and leased the restaurant from Brian’s parents, Eddie and Lou, eventually purchasing it in 2007.
Operating Miller’s Seafood & Steakhouse has been a way of life for the Miller family for generations, explains Brian from behind his desk that is tucked away in an office off the bustling kitchen. It’s not a place Brian spends too much time at. Rather, he prefers to be doing what he does best – helping to prepare meals or in the dining room visiting with guests.
The kitchen, though, is the same one Brian would spend time in as a toddler in a playpen after his parents, Eddie and Lou, purchased the restaurant, originally called Steak & Egger, in 1978. After a year, they changed the name to Miller’s, marking the beginning of an era and a longstanding tradition for the Millers and their guests.
Years before they opened Miller’s, Eddie and Lou met on the Outer Banks while Eddie was working at the Outer Banks Motor Lodge and Lou at Britts Antiques. The couple didn’t know then that they would eventually own the oceanfront motor lodge across the street from Miller’s along with five restaurants on the Outer Banks, quickly becoming the second largest local employer next to the county in the 1980s.
Along with Miller’s, Brian’s parents also owned Kill Devil Grill, then called Waffles; Basnight’s Lone Cedar when it was called Daniel’s’; Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant and the former Fast Eddie’s in Southern Shores. Eddie sold the properties in the early 1990’s but held on to the two – Miller’s Seafood & Steakhouse and Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant. Eddie still owns the motor lodge.
Brian and Beth met while at University of North Carolina Wilmington. After graduating in 1996, they began managing the restaurant and then leased it, eventually buying it from his parents in 2007. In 2002, Brian and Beth also opened the popular American Pie Pizza & Homemade Ice Cream next door to Miller’s at milepost 9.5 on the Beach Road.
“It took off like a rocket, and has been booming ever since,” says Miller, adding that his twin daughters, Shelby and Hayley, now work at the pizza shop.
What sets Miller’s apart from other restaurants, he notes, is that the owners are always present. “I am cooking with the cooks or washing dishes, and Beth runs the dining room. I really think our presences makes the difference. It’s all I’ve ever known….I was born and bred for this.”
There’s little doubt that the Miller’s put their heart and soul into the restaurant – putting in long hours during the season and spending time out on the floor mingling with guests.
Brian says he wants to treat his guests to an experience, not just a delicious meal. “Guests won’t always remember how expensive or cheap it was, or ultimately how great the food was. But one thing they do remember is how they were treated and if they were appreciated. That they will remember.”
Along with their presence, they also pride themselves on quality.
“The key to success, in my opinion, has been quality. It’s top-notch quality. Everything is fresh and we get as much of our ingredients as we can locally.” In fact, much of the seafood such as soft shell crabs, scallops, and fresh fish comes from Brian’s childhood friends, who are now local fishermen.
Within a few minutes of arriving, guests will discover that part of the Miller’s experience is its coastal vibe. Wayne’s coating adorns the walls and local artwork throughout the dining room brings the Outer Banks right into the restaurant.
In addition, a warm staff makes Miller’s even more special. With just over 100 employees, many have been working at the restaurant for 15 years or more. One employee, Kenneth Liverman, has been a cook here for 39 years.
Asked what has contributed to his loyalty to the job, Liverman said, “I just love the Miller’s. I love the whole Miller family from the heart. That explains it all, and that’s why I am here. I’ll stay until I die.”
After all, the Millers are all about family.
Check out Miller’s Seafood and Steakhouse Menu here!!