Millie’s Diner: The Food Speaks for Itself

Words and Photos by Lauren N. Colie

 

 

 

Far beyond the walking range of the average VCU student, Millie’s Diner sits humbly in the shadow of Kelly Point, which is another name for Libby Hill Park. The climb to reach the top might be steep, but dinner prices at Millie’s are even steeper. The lighting is dim, the seats are hard and the service borders on unfriendly. I almost wrote the diner off entirely thinking surely our outing was going to be wasted on a grungy location that some critics seem to love.

After walking almost three frigid miles with my friend, all I wanted to do was slide into a warm booth and order hot tea. However, we missed Millie’s famed weekend brunch by about 5 minutes and were shooed back into the cold to wait for dinner. We walked across the street to Kelly Point. Shivering, we sat on a bench and scanned all of Richmond while we waited for Millie’s to gear up for the dinner crowd.

Returning to the door at exactly 5:31 p.m., we were the first guests ushered into the 44-person dining room. The menus presented by our server were still warm, as Millie’s designs and prints a new offering every few weeks. The staff wasn’t particularly bubbly, but the chefs working magic in the tiny open kitchen by the front door were charmingly busy.

Expecting excellent brunch fare, I had to do a double-take to make sure I’d actually read “wild salmon” on the menu. I hadn’t known Millie’s transformed into a classy evening hotspot – but the warm earthiness of beet soup as an appetizer (pink beet soup) thawed my fingers and my opinion of the diner. I forgave the cramped quarters, brightly-colored atmosphere and less-than-friendly staff immediately. I spent some quality time with hot tea and lemon while my friend fiddled with the vintage jukebox sitting on our table.

I ordered a chicken breast over Brussels sprouts for dinner. The skin of the chicken broke open crisply to juicy, tender meat underneath. The Brussels sprouts were cooked with morsels of meaty bacon, melding with juices from the chicken and a salty sauce. While the atmosphere and the food didn’t make much sense in my head, the taste and feeling were right.

At heart, I truly believe dessert should have chocolate in it, so we chose not to order from Millie’s menu. While the options of bread pudding and spice cake would probably have been excellent examples of how to do those dishes successfully, the dessert menu lacked the chocolate decadence I was craving. As we left, a hearty “have a good night” spilled out from the kitchen and I caught a glimpse of a white apron.

Millie’s has some flaws that might better be described as “quirks.” These minor offenses are eclipsed by the sheer quality of the food. The distance might be far, the prices might be a little high, but if the point of a good dining experience is a unique atmosphere and a delicious meal, Millie’s stuck the landing. I’d recommend the diner as a date destination or somewhere to bring your parents – especially if you want to check out the view from Kelly Point, right across the street. I’ll be returning soon to see if brunch at Millie’s lives up to the acclaim.

The following two tabs change content below.

Cary St. Market and Deli, a good change of pace A bit out of the way for most students, this eatery is home to food that feels home cooked. You can pick exactly what you want for everything you order, and what you can order ranges from chicken, to macaroni and cheese, to sandwiches to wraps.OPTIONSMeat choices: rotisserie chicken is always available...

How Many Cookies Can One Campus Eat? Austin WalkerTo some surprise, yet another competitor in the cookie delivery service in RVA has emerged in between the two incumbent stores, Red Eye and Campus Cookies.Both of the currently operating stores were surprised at the knowledge of new competition, Insomnia Cookies, and have been in contact with each ot...

Fresca: A Fresh New Taste Without Meat Fresca: A Fresh New Taste Without MeatBy Paige BaxterCampus food can get a little monotonous from time to time. So if you want to try something new, Fresca is the place to start.В The building immediately grabbed my attention by the restaurant’s slogan on the wall: вЂ&...

Smokers: Second Class Citizens Smokers: Second Class CitizensOpinion by Connor Campbell (Proud Smoker)There once was a time where one could sit at the bar, have a beer and enjoy a cigarette.One wasn’t forced to walk out in the rain and cold to have a smoke. One was able to enjoy the same comforts of an establishment as the rest o...