Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Miller Tavern: A Hogg’s Hollow Landmark

Originally known as the York Mills Hotel, The Miller Tavern dates back to the 1860s, when it used to be a resting spot for horses and carriages on their journey through Hogg's Hollow, a popular stopover for travellers looking for lodging and a drink. Like other 19th-century inns and taverns, the hotel went through a succession of owners and periods of changing fortunes. During Prohibition in the 20th-century, the inn became a gambling den that was eventually closed down following several police raids. It was later renamed The Jolly Miller, and became a hotel and tavern until 1964.

The Jolly Miller Hotel circa 1945

View looking south on Yonge Street circa 1937, with the Jolly Miller Hotel on the left

The historical landmark was updated and renovated in 2003 and after a 10-month $3 million makeover became The Miller Tavern, complete with an oyster lounge, a charming outdoor patio and a bright glass-enclosed heated veranda, which is very popular in the cold winter months. The new modern interior has retained some of the original brick walls, and features cozy fireplaces, rough-hewn pine detailing, comfortable bankette seating and modern lighting. Offering casual dining to the North York business and residential crowd, the Miller Tavern caters to all tastes, from a selection of salads, starters and lounge snacks, burgers and quesadillas, to fresh fish, seafood and steaks. On the lower level, there's the Miller Oyster Lounge, with more casual dining, large screen TVs, long road-house bar, and raw bar with a selection of fresh shucked oysters, popular with the after-work crowd.

The Miller Tavern menu

There are definitely hits and misses on the menu, but the Miller offers an eclectic if not pricey menu, with courteous staff in a casually elegant uptown setting. One of the most popular items is the $29 Lobster Quesadilla, with meat from a 1-pound Nova Scotia lobster, boursin cheese, tomato, bell peppers and served with guacamole and sour cream.

Miller Caesar with romaine, croutons, pancetta and anchovies

French Onion Soup with emmental cheese

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry with steamed Basmati rice and naan bread

Miller Burger with aged cheddar, smoked bacon, caramelized onions and frites

Lobster Quesadilla with boursin, tomato and bell peppers with guacamole and sour cream

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