Kyle Miller thought he’d have the Packard Pub open in January, but things didn’t turn out the way he planned–and he says it’s driving his would-be customers crazy. “They’re dying,” Miller says, gesturing bemusedly out the windows of his new sports bar at the corner of State at students pausing for a quick look inside. In early March, he was on track to open at the end of the month.

Miller, an affable thirty-nine-year-old with a red goatee, says he had his hands full running the Buffalo Wings & Rings franchise he opened two years ago in Chesterfield Township in Macomb County. But when a friend told him about the vacant storefront that formerly housed the Artisan Bistro, he figured it was too good an opportunity to pass up.

It’s quite a career change for Miller, who has a BS in management information systems from Rochester University and spent seventeen years as a mechanical design engineer. Part of that time was spent

working on a Pentagon contract to design military vehicles for use in Iraq.

When he started looking to go into business himself, he lit on Buffalo Wings & Rings because he liked hanging out in places like that. Packard Pub will be that kind of place, too.

The business’s 6,500 square feet are divided between a first-floor bar and a basement lounge. Miller plans on renting out the basement for private parties and meetings and says he’s already gotten many queries from U-M athletic department staffers. Upstairs Miller’s installed fourteen plasma TVs and three huge screens for projector TVs. A long bar runs along two sides of the main floor. A huge photograph of Michigan Stadium runs the length of one wall, and the support columns are painted yellow with blue trim, but the bar and a number of the tables are faced in corrugated brushed steel that gives the place a vaguely art deco feel.

Miller serves pizza, burgers, sandwiches, calzones, soups, salads, and appetizers. He stocks a full bar and has twenty different beers on tap, with six taps devoted to a rotating selection of Michigan craft beers from breweries like Bell’s in Kalamazoo and Founder’s in Grand Rapids.

Packard Pub, 640 Packard. 929-2760. Daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m.

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