Foodie FIle: Alligator ribs? At Millie's, they have 'em

The dream team — From left are Millie’s Restaurant team members Chris Chibbaro, an owner; Jeremy Wimmer, the executive chef; and owner Amy Chibbaro. Their 3-month-old restaurant and catering business is progressively growing. The Chibbaros met in the service industry and have worked in different aspects of the business most of their lives. "Everyone here at Millie's knows each other, and we've become a family," Chris Chibbaro said.

The dream team — From left are Millie’s Restaurant team members Chris Chibbaro, an owner; Jeremy Wimmer, the executive chef; and owner Amy Chibbaro. Their 3-month-old restaurant and catering business is progressively growing. The Chibbaros met in the service industry and have worked in different aspects of the business most of their lives. "Everyone here at Millie's knows each other, and we've become a family," Chris Chibbaro said.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

The restaurant's Fish Française dish.

The restaurant's Fish Française dish.

BEACON PHOTOS/RYAN ROUGEUX

Angel hair — At right, Millie's Executive Chef Jeremy Wimmer pulls the golden angel hair pasta after achieving perfect texture consistency for the local favorite Fish Française dish

Angel hair — Millie's Executive Chef Jeremy Wimmer pulls the golden angel hair pasta after achieving perfect texture consistency for the local favorite Fish Française dish.

Vegetarian flavor town — The most flavor-complex dish I tried at Millie's was the noodle bowl, consisting of barbecue smoked tofu, chili soba noodles, pickled vegetables and a cilantro lime crema. Each bite revealed a new flavor explosion.

Vegetarian flavor town — The most flavor-complex dish I tried at Millie's was the noodle bowl, consisting of barbecue smoked tofu, chili soba noodles, pickled vegetables and a cilantro lime crema. Each bite revealed a new flavor explosion.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Alligator ribs — One of the most interesting menu items at Millie’s is alligator ribs, at left. These made a delightful starter, paired with Chef Jeremy Wimmer's Florida sweet-rum barbecue sauce. The alligator ribs are coming from Florida Cracker Alligator Farm in Gainesville.

Alligator ribs — One of the most interesting menu items at Millie’s is alligator ribs, at left. These made a delightful starter, paired with Chef Jeremy Wimmer's Florida sweet-rum barbecue sauce. The alligator ribs are coming from Florida Cracker Alligator Farm in Gainesville.

BEACON PHOTO/RYAN ROUGEUX

Amy and Chris Chibbaro, owners of Millie’s Restaurant & Catering, named the place after their dog, Millie, a brown standard poodle they said is the greatest dog in the world.

So, the Chibbaros decided to dedicate their new restaurant to their furry friend.

Located at 3218 S. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach Shores, Millie’s has been open since the ribbon-cutting on Jan. 12.

It’s a 49-seat restaurant with a beechwood-tree bar and smooth, stained antique wooden tables. A rectangular window to the kitchen gives guests a live kitchen experience. The color of ocean blue is used throughout the restaurant, creating a beachy, comfortable ambience.

Nick Murray’s and Michele Wozniak’s photographs of waves and local life also decorate the restaurant, and a 150-year-old captain’s wheel is hung on the wall.

“We pride ourselves on being a community restaurant, and having the freshest seafood in any restaurant,” Chris Chibbaro said.

He and Amy have a close relationship with local fisherman Mike Ditty of Captain Mike’s Seafood and Charters. Ditty and his fleet go out and catch the fish the Chibbaros ask for, and bring the catch straight from the docks to Millie’s — that’s fresh!

My guest and I started with barbecue smoked alligator ribs, which is a featured appetizer you don’t see on many menus.

Executive Chef Jeremy Wimmer smokes the ribs and then sous-vides them (cooks them slowly in a vacuum-sealed pouch or glass jar) to the perfect temperature. If you’ve never had gator, imagine half mild whitefish and half chicken combined.

Then, Wimmer lathers them in sweet-rum barbecue sauce and serves them over Texas toast. It’s the taste of the South in your mouth!

Millie’s menu is very versatile, with starters that range from fresh Florida ceviche to poutine — fresh-cut fries with Wisconsin cheese curds, covered in brown gravy.

Millie’s also offers hand-held dishes, including a pressed Cuban sandwich, a vegetable bánh mÌ,and, my favorite, the Florida sweet-rum barbecue burger.

Wimmer has cooked at numerous establishments in such varied locales as Maui, Seattle and Jacksonville.

“I like to keep everything local, even the rum I use in my barbecue sauce coming from Florida,” Wimmer said.

Chef’s Local Shrimp and Grits has been one of his favorite recipes for 10 years. It’s composed of Ponce Inlet white shrimp, andouille sausage, fresh ground pork sausage, house-smoked tomato vinaigrette, and Geechie Boy cheddar grits.

Another local favorite is Fish Française, with the local fish of the day, angel hair pasta and a lemon caper beurre blanc. You can taste the freshness, and the pasta is cooked perfectly.

My guest and I were stuffed when the owners brought out pineapple upside-down cake with guava syrup and cinnamon dust, but we made room.

“A 96-year-old grandmother liked our upside-down cake so much she wanted us to make a giant version for her upcoming birthday, and that is why we do this, for the love of food,” Chris Chibbaro said.

Millie’s Restaurant offers brunch on Sundays, featuring creative dishes such as sweet-potato buttermilk biscuits and gravy, and a dish called the waffle porker — a sweet waffle with a choice of mojo pork or pork-belly confit, two fried eggs, salted caramel maple mousse, and a blackberry gastrique!

Millie’s is creative, fresh, local and flexible.

“Our guests can come in with flip-flops and get a Cuban sandwich to go, while you can dress nicely and have wonderful family dinner with upscale-style entrees,” the Chibbaros said.


MILLIE'S RESTAURANT

Location: 3218 S. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118

Cuisine: Local, fresh and creative, with a mixture of cultures, and local ingredients

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Saturday; 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday; closed Tuesday

Signature drink: Persimmon Hollow Brewing Co.’s Daytona Dirty Blonde Ale

Signature dish: Chef Jeremy’s Shrimp and Grits

Price: $1 to $11 menu items at lunch, and $11 to $28 at dinner

Kid-friendly: Yes

Pet-friendly: Service dogs only

Limited diets: Vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan options available

Alcohol: Draft and bottled beer, craft beer, wine

Our cost for two appetizers, two entrees, one dessert and one glass of wine: $71.36 plus a $15 tip

Contact: 386-275-1492

— Ryan Rougeux, info@beacononlinenews.com

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