Lunch in the Loop

Reviews of restaurants in the Loop.

Lunch in the Loop: Miller's Pub

Editor's Note: Whether you're a tourist or an office worker in downtown Chicago, you can get sick of eating at chain restaurants all day. So we've started a series to get you the lowdown on where to find a great and affordable lunch.

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[Photographs: Dennis Lee]

Miller's Pub is one of those places I've passed by frequently, but I've never had a real reason to pop in. But Lunch in the Loop is about scoping out lunch joints to see if they're any good, and hey, that's as good a reason as any for me to go in and stuff my face. When you walk in, it's like a classic Chicago pub had a baby with the bar from Cheers. There's old signed celebrity photos plastering the walls, so if Ol' Blue Eyes has been there, it's got to be good. Right?

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"Our Famous" Greek Salad ($9.95) is, well, apparently famous according to the menu. It's your typical Greek salad, heavy on the iceberg lettuce, with a few pieces of salty and crumbly feta cheese, tomato, cucumbers, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, and red onions. Supposedly there's anchovies in it too, but I didn't detect any. It comes overdressed, so the iceberg starts wilting fairly quickly. There's nothing standout about the salad; if you've had one, then this one won't be bringing you any surprises.

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It's been a long time since I've had a good chicken pot pie ($9.25), and my search, unfortunately, continues. Remember this one? Rather than being a full pie, Miller's Pub's version is a casserole wearing a pastry crust hat. The filling is a thick cream of chicken soup with little cubes of dry chicken, some soft peas and mushy carrots, and the pastry crust gets soggy quickly.

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I was looking forward to the open-face prime rib sandwich ($16.25) the most. I generally try not to spend that kind of money on lunch, but sometimes a treat is nice. The prime rib is beefy, fatty, and tender, but woefully underseasoned. Even the au jus is lacking a salty punch, which would have saved the day.

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The classic Reuben ($9.75) is easily one of my favorite sandwiches in general. The corned beef in this version has plenty of flavor, but it's a bit dry. As usual, the Thousand Island dressing and sauerkraut both step in to add moisture, but there was a fatal flaw: the cheese on this one wasn't melted. Unmelted Swiss on a lukewarm Reuben takes the fun out of the sandwich, and it adds a plastic-like texture to every bite. The restaurant was pretty packed, so my guess is that the sandwich was rushed to service.

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Miller's Pub is one of those places that's an ideal place to relax during lunch, with a cozy, worn-in feel, but unfortunately, the food puts a bit of a damper on the experience. So instead of lunch, hop in after a long day at work and have a few drinks instead.

Miller's Pub

134 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago IL, 60603(map)
312-645-5377
millerspub.com

About the author: After a failed attempt at starting a chain of theme restaurants called "Smellen Keller," Dennis Lee traveled the world to discover his true passion. Sadly, midwifery didn't pan out. Now he works in a cubicle, and screws around as much as possible. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter.

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