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Miller's Pub, 134 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago
Who eats: A mix of suits, tourists looking for a Chicago experience and locals.
Why eat: Miller's Pub has been around since 1935, first as a bar and then as a restaurant and bar. It has become a Loop institution, drawing big crowds from the nearby federal buildings and offices.
Ambience: Nothing fancy. The walls on the main floor are adorned with signed pictures from dozens of celebrities, and Cubs and White Sox pennants hang above the bar. Upstairs, framed posters from decades-old musicals line the walls. The low lighting and dark wood keep things cozy, while stained-glass windows add a touch of color.
Dress code: Diners seem comfortable in anything from shorts and T-shirts to a suit and tie. There's no need to dress up, but you won't feel out of place if you do.
Noise factor: The big-band music piped over the stereo system is so faint, you wouldn't hear it if you weren't paying attention. Booths and tables are well spaced, so conversations are easy.
Overheard: "Who was that? He was an attorney. I think his name was Fred. This is killing me."
Service: Nice and knowledgeable about the menu. If you require nonstop attention -- someone to pick up your napkin when it drops or pull out your chair when you sit down -- this probably isn't the place for you. That's not to say the service isn't good. Drinks are refilled, questions are answered promptly, and food comes out extremely quickly, a bonus if you're pressed for time.
Cellphone reception/Wi-Fi: Full cell reception in the dining area. No Wi-Fi.
Reservations: Accepted at 312-263-4988.
Menu: Steaks, ribs, hamburgers, salads, seafood and sandwiches.
Reliable options: The egg-and-lemon soup ($3.50 for a cup) was tangy and rich, like comfort food from the Old World, while the spinach and artichoke dip ($7.95) was warm and delicious, with ever-so-slightly toasted pita wedges. The abundant turkey in the roast turkey sandwich ($8.50) appeared to have been carved moments before serving, while the 10-ounce hamburger ($8.95, extra for cheese and all manner of toppings) was thick, juicy and perfectly cooked. Like the turkey sandwich, the burger arrived with a side of steak fries. The salad known as Our Famous Greek salad ($9.95) was fairly standard but fresh and included a large chunk of feta cheese. No one in my group left hungry.
Expect to pay: $30-$40 for two, unless you opt for a filet mignon ($30.95), a rack of ribs ($20.95) or any of the other steak options.
Contacts: 312-263-4988 or millerspub.com
March 13, 2013