- Griffin Swartzell
- It’s easy to fill up on a budget, and the food’s not bad.
At the former Trivelli’s Hoagies on North Nevada Avenue, parking is limited and the exterior unpretentious. Inside, diners can choose between a wall of booths and a smattering of three- and four-tops by the TV and drink cooler. A tray of pastries — some packaged, some fresh-baked — stands by the counter alongside bottles of flavoring syrup for coffee.
Owners Gregory and Kathena Miller’s backgrounds certainly give us reason to expect an all-killer, no-filler bite here. They’ve both cut their teeth in The Broadmoor’s banquet department, where Gregory still works as a banquet captain, and they boast a combined 40 years in the industry. They offer a mix of American sandwiches and salads with Jamaican dishes, served with a variety of sides. Everything’s pretty affordable — only a few dishes break the $10 mark.
One can only say so much about burgers, club sandwiches and chicken wraps, so we hit that section of the menu only lightly, enjoying a perfectly functional Reuben on marbled rye, served with a decent amount of meat, pleasant dressing and sauerkraut that we wish had a little more tang but certainly does the job. Side fries appear a little blond but are cooked through, though don’t expect crispness.
Moving on to Jamaican offerings, we start with jerk chicken, served with a little cup of sauce, plus rice and beans and choice of side. We pick potato wedges, which land blond and tender through like the fries, and though we don’t note creaminess from the coconut milk the rice and beans are cooked in, they’re fine sauce-sops. Speaking of, the sauce has a nice spice bouquet and a mild heat, which add brightness to pleasant but non-spicy chicken.
Location Details Miller’s Café and Take Out
We also get an order of tilapia — two fillets, seasoned with lemon salt and pimento, fried to order and served with rice and beans, a side and a mix of perfectly sautéed bell peppers and red onions for garnish. It’s hard to go wrong with a side of fried sweet plantains, and there’s plenty of mildly seasoned fish, probably the best dollar value we find here.
They also serve daily specials: curry chicken on Monday, curry goat Tuesday, oxtails Wednesday and Thursday. We drop by for a plate of goat, and though pleasant, the dish comes across somewhat muddy, which we note as we stack bits of bone and sinew on the side of the plate. We’ve ordered cole slaw on the side, and find the slaw fresh, bright and properly seasoned, genuinely very good. The Millers prep all veggies fresh to order, and that quality shows.
When we spoke to them in September, they said they planned on adding coffee and pastries in the morning, and they’ve done so, all fun Danish pastries with canned pie filling. We try made-that-morning apple and cherry pastries as dessert with our curry. The pastry itself, has good layers and a lovely golden brown finish, plus no soggy bottom. And the pie filling lands sweet and gel-y but by no means bad.
Skip the off-menu, Kathena-recommended breakfast sandwich, just griddle-toasted bread with ham and bacon with offered ketchup. But get a cup of Royal Cup Coffee and Tea coffee, which has a slight acid kick and relative lightness that beats most diner brew — cheap, fast and not bad, like most of what we sample at Miller’s. Hell, that’s a good description of the spot itself: cheap, fast and not bad.