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The Neighborhood Spot

The Mill Tavern Revels in Serving the Community

Writer / Megan Arszman
Photographer / Sam Zachrich

The Mill TavernWhen neighborhoods started popping up and growing around Springmill Road and 161st Street, Chris and Kristin Weiler knew there was a need for a gathering place. Somewhere where adults could come together over good food and cold beer and just hang out. Someplace where everybody knows your name.

The Mill Tavern opened in July 2010. The space isn’t very large, but that’s exactly how the Weilers and the community likes it. If you’re looking for a cozy place to wind down after a long day, hitting the Springmill Villages strip mall is just the ticket. 

“This isn’t a place where you go to do shots or a single signature dish,” Chris says. “It’s more of a neighborhood place — you’re likely to run into somebody you know when you’re here. It’s been compared to ‘Cheers’ pretty frequently.”

And it’s that closeness that has helped The Mill continue to be a place of welcome for the neighborhood the past 12 years, even through recessions and pandemics. 

“When we went through COVID, the neighborhood really stepped up to help us in a big way,” Chris adds. “It’s humbling in a lot of ways.” 

On The Menu

What some might consider to be an inconvenience, the Weilers see as their advantage — the restaurant only has one freezer in the building. So everything is “tavern-made” each day, and the Weilers strive to maintain high quality and high consistency with their food. 

The Mill TavernThe burgers on the menu are half-pound angus burgers, and one standout burger is the Jellystone. The burger, made with black raspberry jelly and American cheese, was a staple of Kristin’s mother at local barbecues and gatherings. Chris recommends adding jalapeños to the burger for an extra kick. 

Wing lovers will have to spend many evenings at The Mill to try each sauce and flavoring combination. Large-sized salads can satisfy those looking for a little greenery in their diet and buffalo chicken nachos hit the spot any day. 

“It’s hard to say (what we’re known for),” Chris says. “We’ve been open for 12 years, so we’ve eaten everything on the menu and they’re all great items. They’re all equally loved by our customers.”

Hot summer evenings can be cooled off by the ice-cold beer offered at The Mill. The bar offers 11 taps, plus more for the average hometown bar aficionado. “There’s something for everyone,” Chris says. 

Spurred by COVID, the take-out business has grown very popular for restaurants as patrons want a little bit of their neighborhood hangout at home. 

Extras on the Side

“We were looking for a place that was small, but able to have a big heart,” says Chris. That explains why The Mill wasn’t built to look like just any chain restaurant or bar, and it wasn’t named for anything other than the neighborhood it serves. 

“We wanted a name that identifies its location — it’s the neighborhood’s place,” Chris says. “We had a feeling if we called it The Springmill Tavern, people would call it The Mill, anyway, so we were proactive in just shortening it.”

Friendships, relationships and marriages are created and built at The Mill. And while only patrons over the age of 21 are allowed to be served in the business, patrons are more than comfortable with the age limits and look forward to bringing their adult children with them someday. Holidays are celebrated in a big way, with dedication from the owners and employees to decorate and celebrate Halloween and Christmas. 

“We just try to be a responsible member of the community around here,” Chris says. “Those people pay our bills and take really good care of us, and after all this time, they have ownership of the business.”

The Mill TavernWith that in mind, the Weilers are proud to give back to the community and their own family. Each year, The Mill does a fundraiser for Open Doors of Washington Township called A Stocking For Joey, named after the Weilers’ nephew, Joey, who passed away more than12 years ago. The fundraiser starts after Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Eve.

“It’s something that’s sort of personal to us and a promise that we made to the family that we are going to keep giving back,” Chris says. “It’s important to us that people realize that we try to help those around us, because they helped us.”

“When we unlocked the door in 2010, the economy was in the toilet and we didn’t know what we were going to get,” Chris says. “We were running on faith and hope.”

To become a regular at The Mill Tavern, everyone over 21 is invited to visit 226 W. 161st Street in Westfield, and follow them on social media. For more information, visit them online at barwestfield.com or give them a call at 317- 399-6972.

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