Miller's Ale House opens first of several new Tennessee eateries

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Miller's Ale House managerial staff incudes Scott Blainey, Matt Fasbender, Aricka Johnson and T.J. Goodman. The restaurant is the first of three new Miller's Ale House restaurants that will be opening in Tennessee.

Within the next year, Miller's Ale House expects to have more than 100 of its restaurants across more than a dozen states.

Each of the sports-themed restaurants and pubs has the same menu of more than 90 food items, including its signature boneless chicken zingers and sauces, steaks, pasta, salads, sandwiches, desserts and appetizers. But the Orlando, Florida-based chain makes sure each of its restaurant pubs is unique in its decor and sports focus.

So the new Miller's Ale House that opened in August on Gunbarrel Road in East Brainerd has a distinctive Tennessee flair with Reggie White's jersey on the wall and plenty of Tennessee Vols, Titans, Predators and Peyton Manning decorations spread among more than 65 television screens around the restaurant and bar.

T.J. Goodman, the new general manager for the 371-seat restaurant, moved to Chattanooga from Florida to run the restaurant, which is the 93rd unit in the chain that began in Jupiter, Florida in 1988. Other veteran managers of the newest Miller's Ale House, including food and kitchen managers Scott Blainey and Matt Fasbender, also spent several weeks training at the company's Orlando headquarters in preparation for the restaurant opening.

The new 7,823-square-foot eatery was originally a Logan's Steakhouse, which shut down in April as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. Miller's Ale House completely renovated the space, creating both an interior bar and restaurant area as well as outdoor patio seating.

The new restaurant, which employs about 120 full- and part-time workers, is one of three shuttered Logan's restaurants that Miller's Ale House has bought. A similar renovated Logan's Steakhouse also opened in Franklin, Tennessee, in September and Miller's Ale House plans to open a Murfreesboro, Tennessee, unit in October in a former TGI Friday's restaurant.

In 2018, Miller's Ale House is adding nine new restaurants and company CEO Ray Holden expects a similar number to be added in successive years, including additional units in Chattanooga, Nashville and Atlanta.

"We want to take our time, establish ourselves and our reputation and then see if there is a market for another restaurant here (in Chattanooga)," said Holden, who has helped build Miller's Ale House from three to 93 units over the past couple of decades.

Goodman, who joined the company eight years ago and has watched the success of Miller's Ale House units in other cities, said he thinks the concept will do well in Chattanooga, especially opening at the start of the football season.

"We just want this to be a comfortable place for you to come and enjoy yourself with friends and family," he says.