By Laura Hill
Miller’s Grocery isn’t the kind of place you pass by in the normal course of a day. And it’s not a grocery, either.
But ’round about Christiana, if you follow Highway 269E from Highway 231, go about a mile and turn left onto Main Street at the old red pickup truck, you’ll find one of the finest Friday nights anywhere.
Miller’s used to be a real country grocery store, back when Christiana was a bustling railroad stop with a three-story hotel, depot, pencil factory, bank, blacksmith and post office. For 75 continuous years it served its small community, until enterprising young entrepreneurs took it over in 1995, saving its life by turning it into a restaurant.
Today, the post office, fire department, Southern Treasures antique shop, a gorgeous country church and a few homes are all that remain of once-booming Christiana, but Miller’s is still serving home-cooked meals that lure the hungry from miles away.
“Everything here is good,” beams waitress Melanie, as she sets down a couple of king-size iced teas on one of the charmingly mismatched tables that dot a large, rustic room decorated with vintage advertising signs and country-store memorabilia.
There’s not a trace of bragging in her enthusiasm, just pride. She follows the tea with a basket full of hot, crisp corn nuggets. The house specialty, these little battered-and-fried bits are simultaneously salty and sweet, creamy and crunchy, bad for you and way too good to pass up.
As you munch and wait for dinner, a country quartet sends fiddle and guitar, keyboard and tambourine your way. Toddlers dance around the tables while families linger over coffee and dessert.
Meatloaf arrives, dressed in a tangy-sweet homemade sauce. Turnip greens taste like they were picked that morning. Country fried steak with sawmill gravy. Mac and cheese. More tea. You might as well be at Grandma’s house, given the satisfied sigh that escapes you.
But wait, Melanie smiles, don’t forget dessert.
All homemade – just go up there and pick one from the counter. Red Velvet Cake, over-the-top brownies done up with icing, Pineapple Jubilee, spice cake dripping with pecans and creamy icing. Did I say pie?
Miller’s is open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for lunch, Friday and Saturday 5-9 p.m. for dinner, and Sunday for a lunch buffet 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Live music is featured at dinner. Call 615-893-1878 for reservations – Miller’s is hoppin’ on Friday and Saturday nights.