At the opening of Miller’s Ale House in Ocean Township are (from left) Kitchen Manager Melvin Hernandez with Larry Heiss, Drew Reynolds and General Manager Christen Carinha
Ocean Township Mayo John Napolitani (second from right) and Councilwoman Kelly Terry were with Nick Case and Dave Krenkle at the opening of Miller’s Ale House.
By WILLIAM CLARK
Miller’s Ale House in Ocean Township has officially opened its doors.
The bar and restaurant, which opened Saturday, is the first business to begin operating at the new retail site on the corner of Deal Road and Route 35 in Ocean Township.
Forty-seven TVs are displayed around the space making it an ideal location for customers to catch one of the many sporting events running live. In addition to live broadcasts, Miller’s has leaned heavily into the local sports flair. Memorabilia adorns the walls including pictures of local professional athletes. Several framed uniforms decorate the space including local favorites the New Jersey Devils and the New York Giants.
General Manager Christen Carinha said that she has worked in multiple Miller’s locations and has experienced how intense it can be during the football season in the fall.
“NFL is insane here,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
With the professional teams well represented, the location is looking to beef up their collection with jersey from high school and collegiate teams as well.
Although the Ocean location is the 103rd location for the franchise, Carinha and Drew Reynolds, the Director of Operations for the Northeast, said they hope Miller’s will become part of the local fabric quickly.
“It’s really a local gathering place with a Cheers type mentality,” he said, referring to the 1980’s sitcom. “We say it’s high chairs to wheel chairs so anybody can come and enjoy themselves here.”
Carinha said she has worked in the Paramus and Staten Island locations and both became staples for people in the area.
“Everyone came in, everyone knew each other and that’s just what I want here,” she said.
Both Carinha and Reynolds quickly suggested that people try their Zingers, a sauce-covered chicken tender appetizer.
Mayor John Napolitani and Councilwoman Kelly Terry were on hand to buy the ceremonial first drink at the bar, where is almost feels like outdoor dining with the various large garage doors that allow the fresh air to surround patrons.
Napolitani said that Miller’s is a welcome addition to Ocean’s growing hospitality industry.
“It’s a perfect spot for our municipality because of the price point and the way that the structure of the business operates,” he said. “They seem to cater towards more of the sports and TV and of course the happy hour and the pricing fits more for our senior community.”
Napolitani referenced the beautification of the Route 35 corridor several times saying that Miller’s is the starting point.
“I think Long Branch and Asbury Park are way ahead of us when it comes to hospitality,” he said. “What I want to do is create more of that community feel here where we put in a few nice restaurants. We’ve got Miller’s here to cornerstone Deal Road and Route 35.”
The site, which will also welcome Chick-Fil-A and Wawa now in the waning stages of construction, has been a point of controversy for several years. The property has been the subject of several lawsuits after residents in the area became concerned about the number of businesses and residential units planned for the 32-acre site. Before development began last year the site was entirely wooded. A former Township Council approved the redevelopment of the property. Napolitani, who was not a member of the council at that time, said the township is making the best modifications to the area that it can under the ordinance approved by former officials. Turn out lanes are being constructed and the site itself has a slip road to help drivers circumnavigate local roads.
“You’ve got a beautiful corner here now with businesses that will flourish for the highway 35 corridor,” Napolitani said.
Miller’s offers burgers, steaks, and pastas on top of their Zingers and traditional wings.
The new Ocean location offers a variety of taps and speciality cocktails like the Prickly Pear Margarita, one of Carinha’s favorites.
The Ocean location is only the chain’s fourth in New Jersey and is open from 11:00am-midnight from Sunday through Thursday and stays open until 1:00am on Fridays and Saturdays.