Pete Miller’s branches out with Wheeling steakhouse

Greg Lowe

Pete Miller’s Steakhouse brought live jazz, billiards and fine dining into the suburbs when it opened a new restaurant in Wheeling, Ill., over the summer.

The original Pete Miller’s, 1557 Sherman Ave., has attracted a loyal following of Northwestern students and faculty since opening in 1994. It offers live music to students younger than 21.

“We get a lot of Northwestern music students there,” said Ty Dassler, a manager at the Wheeling restaurant. “If they’re under 21, they can’t sit at the bar, but they can sit in the jazz lounge and experience a live jazz scene.”

The success of the Evanston restaurant prompted the owners, the Clean Plate Club Restaurant Group, to search for an additional location. The Clean Plate Club also owns the Davis Street Fish Market and Merle’s Smokehouse in downtown Evanston.

“They felt that the concept would expand well out into the suburbs with the live entertainment and the quality food,” Dassler said.

Dassler said the Clean Plate Club owners had been looking into expanding their operations for several years. They opened the new Pete Miller’s at 412 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wheeling because of the area’s reputation for good restaurants.

“Milwaukee Avenue is known as ‘restaurant row,'” Dassler said.

Because of the potential for more customers, the Wheeling restaurant is twice as big as the Evanston establishment. Dassler said the lack of a student population is not a problem because there are several large corporations in the area.

“Out here, the customers tend to be in their 30s, 40s and 50s,” he said. “We definitely do a lot more corporate gatherings.”

The Clean Plate Club also is exploring options to expand other restaurants , according to Dassler.

“We’re a growing company,” he said.