Like its famous pies, Millie’s Restaurant was built from scratch. Nearly 30 years ago, Millie Duncan’s husband got tired of people coming into their house for Millie’s food, so he built her a restaurant next door. What started in the home is now a full-time restaurant, bakery and catering provider.
Located in Middleport on the southern edge of Meigs County, Millie’s Restaurant is the definition of homegrown. Duncan says she started baking to use eggs from the chickens in her barn. She then began selling food from home because her kids and their friends loved her food and flocked to her house for lunch. As the business grew in popularity, the building was added to.
Millie’s Restaurant attracts nearby neighbors and far-off travelers. Kelly Barnett, a waitress at Millie’s, says, “I had [customers] from Little Hocking and they had relatives that were from Arizona and Nebraska.” Bob Evans and his wife, Jewell, Southeast Ohio natives, once ate at Millie’s. Duncan’s popular pies are sent all over the country by request.
Barnett says that over half of the customers are regulars, and because of that, Duncan knows her customers. Local customers Kathy and Wayne Thomas who live across the street from the restaurant, eat there several times a week. Wayne says they live “too close.” Kathy adds, “I’ve been here longer than it’s been here.”
“I figured Kathy would know anything about this restaurant. She’s been looking at it for 29 years,” Duncan adds.
The inside of the restaurant looks like a home kitchen. Mark Hudson, a Millie’s regular, says he likes “the home feel and the home cooking” of the restaurant. Like many kitchens, the restaurant is a place to collect family knickknacks. “People see that I collect certain things and they bring me stuff,” Duncan says. The family pictures on the walls are of her parents and her husband’s great grandparents.
Outside, the restaurant looks welcoming. It sits next to a big red barn and Duncan’s house. There is a front porch with main doors, a side door with a “Millie’s” sign over it and a back porch that is home to Sadie the friendly rat terrier who is a bit deaf. Like the items inside, Sadie was once dropped off. Seven years later, she is a beloved part of the Duncan family and restaurant.
The food is authentic. Duncan locally sources as much food as possible, picking the green peppers from her own garden. The coconut cream pie, the most popular pie on the menu, is a recipe from Duncan’s husband’s aunt Winnie. Duncan and another baker, Tracy Moon, make every part of the pies, including the crusts and meringue. Mashed potatoes, ribs, baked goods and garden salad are all created from scratch. The most popular meals are the baked steak, pork chops, and chicken and noodles, all homemade as well.
Millie’s Restaurant caters events. “The catering is a big part of it and I do as much as I can,” Duncan says. Every week, Millie’s takes its homemade meals to the Gavin Plant in Cheshire.
Millie’s Restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary on March 17. Surely there will be enough pie for everyone.