Growing up, Joe Miller spent Sundays gabbing around the table while eating meals with his parents and five siblings. His wife Ginger, who also comes from a big family, did the same thing during her childhood. It’s the way Sundays used to be for a lot of us, but life’s pace has quickened through the years, causing those precious moments to get lost in the shuffle. The couple, now with five kids of their own, aged 5 to 12, have spent their marriage dreaming of a way to recreate those special weekend memories for families.
Joe, an Indianapolis native, has worked in the restaurant and catering industry ever since he was 14. After enrolling in Ivy Tech’s culinary hospitality program, he was connected with Chef Alex Darvishi, former chef at Meridian Hills Country Club. Joe became his apprentice, working his way up to sous-chef and executive chef. He worked at the club for 20-plus years.
“It got to a point where I was ready for our new chapter,” Joe says.
For some time, the couple had toyed with the idea of opening up their own restaurant. In November of 2019 Joe left Meridian Hills, and the idea become a reality. Then life threw a curveball in the form of a global pandemic. As eager as they were to get their restaurant rolling, they were forced to pump the brakes. Joe was offered an opportunity to work just 10 minutes down the road at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, making daily lunches and dinners. The laid-back schedule afforded the pair the time to find the perfect location for their restaurant, which they named Our Table American Bistro.
“Naming the restaurant was like naming our sixth baby,” Ginger says. “We decided on this one because it felt at home, as far as what we wanted to offer the community. It’s what we offer at our house, at our table.”
Their vision is to get families and friends back around the table.
“People are eager to just sit around a table again and commune,” Joe says.
When selecting a location, they were originally considering Old Town Greenwood, but then their business partners and family members Laura and Ken Fikes led them to a brand-new building that was available in Bargersville. After a great meeting with the owner, Mike Duke of Duke Homes, they knew it was right where they were supposed to be. The stone fireplace, walnut bar and other furnishings will provide a warm, inviting, upscale feel.
“We want to be something different,” Joe says. “I don’t think the southside is craving another pub. We’re looking to tap into that place that’s missing – a place where you can get chef-crafted specials including fresh Florida grouper, grilled lamb chops and fresh oysters to name a few. I’m excited to give that to Bargersville.”
Joe adds that he’ll be making handmade artisan flatbreads from a recipe he’s used for many years. Also on the menu is a caprese salad served with warm, crusty bread, and a grilled salmon fillet. Though not a steakhouse, the restaurant will offer a signature fillet, and char-crusted beef tenderloin sliders on toasted brioche buns with horseradish-garlic aioli and crispy Vidalia onion strings.
They will have a private dining room that offers a boutique winery vibe.
“We want people to be able to come here with their children, but we still offer that Napa wine country, laid-back feel,” Ginger says.
During the peak of the pandemic there was a spike in takeout, but dine-in business has slowly returned for eateries.
“There’s nothing like that warm feeling you get when you walk into a restaurant for a great meal and memorable experience,” says Joe, who enjoys what he calls the “organized chaos” of being a chef. “I like the whole dance in the kitchen when it all comes together and everything is operating smoothly. Then I get to see people enjoying what my team and I made them, and that keeps me going.”
Though owning a restaurant means long hours, Joe and Ginger aren’t complaining one bit.
“Yes, I put in a lot of hours, but my kids can be standing right next to me in my own kitchen,” Joe says.
The children, all of whom offer their two cents when it comes to menu items, like to help out in their own kitchen any chance they get.
“On Sunday Joe made homemade focaccia bread and they helped, recognizing that it’s better than the grocery store bread,” Ginger says.
Our Table American Bistro is located at 5080 North State Road 135 in Bargersville and is slated to open in mid-October. For more information, visit ourtablerestaurant.com.