Ever since Dave and Megan Miller sold their share in Bang Bang Pie Shop and began working on their own place, we’ve been patiently counting down the days until the bakery and flour-milling operation opens in Lincoln Square (4610 N Western Ave). Now, we have an official date for Baker Miller Bakery & Millhouse: September 22. Here are five things to know about the new spot, which aims to change the way we look at grains.
1. Megan’s great-grandparents provided inspiration.
Megan’s great-grandparents Bertie and Alvie had a restaurant in Athens, Illinois, in the early 1900s, and they made pies there every day. There are photos of them on the walls, along with a rotating selection of art, some from local artists.
2. Get ready for cool new flours.
The base of the operation is flour milling, and in the back of the shop there are mills, a mill/sifter and a flaker, which will help the Millers work with heritage grains like Einkorn that local farmers are growing specially for them. They’re also interested testing whether grains from Latin America and the Middle East can grow in the Midwest. The flours will be used in dishes at Baker Miller, and you’ll also be able to buy bags to take home for $5–$6 a pound.
3. They’re also adding a much larger milling operation.
The milling set-up in the bakery won’t meet the growing demand for special flours from wholesale and retail purveyors, so they’ve begun working toward a much larger milling operation, which will be located off-site and exist as a separate company.
4. The menu will feature much more than pie.
Bang Bang was best known for its pies and biscuits, and while there will be pie (now made with unrefined coconut oil instead of lard), there's going to be much more than that at Baker Miller. Megan, who handles the baking side, says she’s had to change her recipes because the flours she’s using at Baker Miller are vastly different from the ones she used at Bang Bang. Expect a morning toast bar with breads (made with unleavened flour), cultured butters and jams; popovers; savory hand pies; and cereals for breakfast.
Lunch will include sandwiches and a Ploughman’s lunch with meat, cheese, bread and pickles. There's also a dinner menu, with a meat and three sides, such as roasted capons with grits or wheatberries, and family-style dinners. Coffee comes from Sparrow, and the menu will also feature Seasons soda and Rare Tea Cellar tea.
5. It’s a neighborhood spot.
The Millers live in the area, and since it’s close to the Western Brown Line, they hope customers will come by on their way to work for coffee, or to take a Ploughman’s lunch to go. Fun fact: The space used to be a flower shop, and Dave bought Megan flowers there when they were dating.