Lafayette restaurant opens with new feel, historic name

The first thing people asked Rich Womack when they heard he purchased Tutti restaurant on Public Road was, “Are you changing anything?”

Knowing Tutti had a dedicated crowd and popular outdoor patio, Womack was in no hurry to fix things that weren’t broken, so his standard response was always, “What would you change?”

The restaurant’s resulting transformation last month from Tutti to Womack’s Miller’s Grille has been substantial but not drastic.

Miller’s Grille, 103 S. Public Road, retains 30 percent of the Tutti menu — including favorites like the seared scallops, better-than-your-momma’s meatloaf and mussels — and 100 percent of its staff, Womack said. He’s adding in more entrée salads, burgers, less expensive steaks and lower overall pricing.

“There’s just not enough volume in Lafayette to be a special-occasion place,” Womack said of the decision to lower prices and rework the menu. “Tutti was a great place, but you could walk away from a date night there with a bill for $75. We don’t want to do that.”

Also missing from the restaurant’s Tutti days is the downstairs kids’ area and couch seating off the main upstairs dining area. Additional seating has been added on the main level.

The lower level at Miller’s Grille is now reserved for business meetings, banquets, private parties and special events, Womack said.

“And the patio furniture is actually going out on the patio,” Womack said, light-heartedly referring to the round patio-style dining tables used inside Tutti.

The patio at Miller’s — an expansive redwood and cedar deck that replaces the previous concrete patio of Tutti’s — was completed Thursday, May 17, just in time for the restaurant’s ribbon cutting and Lafayette’s first Art Night Out event of the season on Friday, May 18. Womack eliminated Tutti’s white picket fence that created the border between the former restaurant’s ground-level patio and the public sidewalk. The raised deck overlooking Public Road is now the clear focal point of the restaurant.

Miller’s Grille derives its name from Lafayette’s founder, Mary Miller, who named the city after her late husband, Lafayette Miller.

“We named it after Mary Miller and the impact she had on this community,” said Womack, who hopes Miller’s Grille will help usher in the next era in Old Town Lafayette. “I see Lafayette where Downtown Louisville was 15 years ago. There’s good things happening down here.”

Womack said he had a good time researching Miller and the city’s history during the process of selecting the restaurant name.

“I got a bunch of books on the town’s history, visited the historic museum, and found a bunch of old pictures that we’ll hang inside,” Womack said.

Starting in June, Miller’s Grille will feature a house pianist and guitarist on Friday and Saturday nights. Also in June, the restaurant, which currently only caters to the dinner crowd, will offer a lunch menu Wednesdays through Sundays, opening at 11 a.m. Miller’s Grille is open until 9 p.m. on weekdays, 10 p.m. on weekends.

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Post time: May-13-2020
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