It felt like 100 degrees in Charleston as I made my way from my hotel to Millers All Day in search of that unsung hero of the food world—the all-day brunch. At Millers, you can get breakfast favorites and Southern classics from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. On the way there, I passed two purple dumpsters decked out in painted flowers and boldly bearing with the words “Trash Gurl.” And as sweat dripped down my body in places you don’t talk about at (polite) parties, I felt like a trash gurl myself: sticky, stinky, probably purple from heat stroke.
When I reached my destination, I took a second to compose myself before heading in. Etiquette is paramount in the south, and I knew it would be impolite to address the hostess while panting. Across the street, a copse provided some welcome shade, and I regarded Millers All Day from afar. It was bustling, and I noticed a nice counter in the front window that looked like the perfect spot for a solo diner like myself. Also notable: the in-house mill ensconced in a room to the side of the restaurant. I would later learn that Millers makes its own grits, including its Insta-famous unicorn grits, there.
In fact, almost everything inside of Miller’s would make one turn their head in interest: the charming mint green color scheme, the midcentury decor, the coffee bar and bake shop in the front, the photo booth, a living room set up across from the large back bar, and a wall of merch and goods for sale. It feels casual and cozy yet refined—the kind of place you could potentially hang out all day and find someone interesting to talk to. I happened to sit next to Dana, the founder of The Dinner Party Project, and learned all about her company’s traveling dinner party that brings together seven strangers over a chef-curated meal and stimulating conversation.
But back to the food. Diners are spoiled for choice at Millers with a menu full of delicious-sounding items. The hardest part of my meal was choosing what to order. I was able to narrow it down thanks to my helpful waiter who pointed out some favorites.
I began with the Verde Bloody Mary, one of three bloody options on the menu (classic and golden are the others). A mix of tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde, tomatillo, jalapeño, and lime, it was light on the spice and tasty—not unlike drinking salsa verde might be. I enjoyed the novelty but would probably stick to a classic Bloody Mary on my next visit since I typically enjoy those flavors more.
My waiter proved so helpful with suggestions that I over-ordered and ended up with a smorgasbord-like food situation all at once: waffles, an open-faced scramble, home fries, and unicorn grits. It was too much for one human being to take down, but you best believe I gave it my all. Trash gurls leave no bites behind. (All right, I gave Dana some of the potatoes…)
The waffles landed first. Its two pieces were nicely stacked and drizzled with caramel and strategic banana slices stuck here and there and a dollop of meringue balancing on top. I eyed them with apprehension—I don’t like bananas and I don’t ever order waffles—and sized up the popcorn kernels circling the plate. My first bite had me reconsidering my aversion to bananas. The flavor of the fruit combined with the caramel was a subtle, sweet surprise. My second bite wowed me to the point of confusion. What was this cripsy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside goodness? Have I been wrong about bananas and waffles my whole life? Apparently so.
The open-faced egg sandwich dropped next, and I knew from the first glance I would love it. They key here was layers: first roasted tomatoes and bacon, then lightly dressed frisée and soft scrambled eggs, and finally a slice of rye bread. To borrow an idea from Steve Carell’s character in Crazy, Stupid, Love, this dish is the perfect combination of sexy (the acidic tang of the salad and tomatoes) and cute (the sweet bacon and savory eggs)… and the flavor is marvelous! Seriously though, I would eat this dish every day if I lived in Charleston. It’s a must-order.
While switching back and forth between the two entrees, I somehow managed to steal a few bites of my sides as well: the crunchy yet fluffy home fries and the unicorn grits, named for their bright color.
The potatoes are boiled first to get a fluffy texture and then dropped in a deep fryer for the crispy outside, and the result is the best kind of home fry ever. Crispy and salty and piping hot, they’re a welcome addition to any meal. Make room.
Last but not least: the unicorn grits whose color comes from a particular strain of red corn. Topped with a delicious in-house spice mix, this slightly sweet and chewy dish will please all grits lovers out there.
The Bitches Say: A. This cozy all-day spot is the perfect place to enjoy brunch fare from indulgent classics to lighter bites. Perfect for families, couples, single diners—anyone hungry, really—Millers All Day is a must-visit for a delicious, hearty meal in Charleston, South Carolina.
Millers All Day
120 King Street