Miller’s Ale House Review: Just a Duffy’s With Some Zing?


Miller’s Ale House recently opened in Alton and has become a popular place for students to eat. However, it has proven to not be the best quality.

Evan Liberman, Managing Editor

Another location of the national chain Ale House opened this past fall in the equally new Alton Town Center. The American style eatery joined other chain restaurants in the plaza such as Chipotle and Panera in addition to more niche restaurants such as The Kitchen.

To put Ale House to the test, I, along with roughly eight other Benjamin students, decided to visit the establishment in mid-December after the final midterm exam of my Benjamin career as a sort of celebration. Unfortunately, my experience with Ale House did not live up to the images of good food and hospitality that I had conjured up in the days leading up to my visit.

Upon entering Ale House, I was pleasantly surprised. The 6,300 square foot restaurant looked like a typical, slightly more modern sports bar without the inherent grimy feeling that comes from most other sports bars. The setting was bright, airy, and even boasted a semi-outdoor bar and seating area in addition to the indoor one.

However, this was where the pleasant surprises stopped. My group was told that we would have to wait until a table could be cleared so that two could be pushed together to accommodate our group. Normally, the time it takes to be seated and the busyness of the restaurant is not the establishment’s fault–as busy as it gets is as busy as it gets, especially if my group had the chance to make a reservation. The problem is that we weren’t. When we called ahead of our visit, we were told that the restaurant “infrastructure” was there to seat eight or nine comfortably. And, while this was true to some extent, Ale House’s policy of not taking reservations (opting for a “walk-in only” policy instead) meant that we had to wait over an hour to be seated.

Perhaps the ability to book reservations for parties of a particular size might alleviate this issue for future restaurant-goers.

Junior Charlie Spungin, who was a part of the Ale House group, was annoyed by the long wait.

“I feel like it took too long to be seated at Ale House. Waiting for one hour seemed excessive. I feel like the staff could have provided us with updates about our table or seating rather than having us just wait there for an hour,” Spungin said.

Once seated, our waiter introduced himself and was friendly and attentive throughout the course of the meal; he never missed a beat and seemed always to be nearby. He was certainly a bright spot.

Unfortunately, our wait for food was far from over. Although the restaurant wasn’t very busy, our food took at least 35-45 minutes to arrive. It felt like much longer after our previous ordeal. I’ll attribute this mistake to restaurant growing pains. After all, it does take time for a restaurant’s staff–both those working at the front and back of the house–to get in the swing of things

When the food did arrive, it was mediocre. My “‘Cue Bacon Cheesburger” was good and filled to the brim with onion rings, bacon, and a tangy barbecue sauce–all of which I enjoyed thoroughly. However its flavor was drowned out by the quintessential burger paring: the fries. They were quite salty to the point that they were unpleasant to eat.

Upon further investigation, Carl, a manager at the Alton Ale House, noted that the fries are prepared by Cheney Brothers, Inc–a food distributing company based in Riviera Beach. However, he added that they are preparing an Ale House recipe and shipping it frozen to locations in the area, so perhaps not all the blame (if any) can fall on the employees of the restaurant for my fries. A modification of the fries recipe might be in order, though.

Regardless of who is to blame for the fries, senior Tvisha Goel, who was also a part of the group, was not impressed by the food either.

“The food was okay. I ordered a salmon salad, but I don’t think it was worth the trip or the time it took to get my food. I liked the fact that the salmon went well with the caesar dressing,” said Goel.

All in all, Ale House was underwhelming in almost all respects. If you’re fine with lunch or dinner taking longer than usual and the mystery behind not knowing the quality of the food you’ll be served, Ale House is the place for you. For anyone else, however, for the time being, save your money and allow the restaurant to iron out its kinks.