Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane with Marc Miller
By Bob Tagert
Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane with Marc Miller
As you are probably aware by now, this issue of the Old Town Crier marks the beginning of our 35th year. It seems like a long time ago that we printed our first issue, but sometimes you run into some people that makes it seem like it was yesterday. That is the case with Marc Miller.
One afternoon last month we were at our usual spot for an early evening libation…the bar at Landini Brothers restaurant, and as we were engaged in casual conversation, a young man a few seats down from me asked, “Hey, didn’t you tend bar at the Fish Market restaurant a while ago?” I said that I did and was reintroduced to a customer from 35 years ago. “I thought you looked familiar,” he proclaimed. This is how I met Marc Miller and relived my past for a few moments.
I met Marc a week or so later at the Fish Market to interview him for this article. As we both noted, the restaurant has changed a bit since those early days in Old Town. The Anchor Bar is now the only bar downstairs at the Fish Market. Back when I met Marc there were four bars on the lower floor and the restaurant consisted of three buildings extending all the way to Union Street. I worked the Sunquest Bar which is now a dining room on the first floor. Those were the days when the big schooner of beer was king and probably comprised 85 percent of alcohol sales back then. Although the schooner is still served at the Fish Market, most beers are of the pint sized and the back bar has way many more choices than 35 years ago.
Naturally we spent a good bit of time talking about the old days. Marc said that he noticed me at Landini’s one day but wasn’t sure if I was his former bartender. He heard us talking about the Old Town Crier and then picked up a copy at Chadwick’s and saw my photo and then knew he was right. As he said, “I grew up here, spent a lot of time in Old Town, and you are sure to run into someone you knew before eventually.” He was right about that!
Marc was born and raised in Alexandria growing up in Seminary Ridge. After graduating from St. Stephens school he attended Yale where he received his degree in 1991. “I took a job in D.C and worked for a year and then went to George Washington University Law School and graduated in 1995,” he tells me. “I practiced law in D.C. until around 2009 while living in Alexandria. After that I worked for Redmon, Peyton & Braswell in Old Town. This past April I started my own firm with two colleagues of mine.” The law firm is Donohue, Themak & Miller, PLC. The firm specializes in real estate, land use, litigation and general corporate work. “We handle civil cases”, he says, “no criminal cases!”
Marc met his future wife Mary at the health care firm where they both worked after Marc graduated from Yale. They got married on spring break in 1995, the year he graduated from law school. That is not the way I remember spring break! I am beginning to think that Marc loves a heavy work load. In January of 1998 the couple were blessed with the birth of twins, Bennett and Zach. “The twins grew up here too and now they come to the Fish Market… a lot,” he says with a knowing chuckle. “So it is now kind of like a full circle.”
As we talked more about the changes we both have seen in Old Town over the years, he says, “First of all I think the pedestrian (100 block of king street) walk way is genius, and I think that if one good thing can come out of the pandemic, that is probably it. It totally transformed down here (lower King street). It has really made Old Town a destination! There are also a lot more destinations today, when we were younger the destinations were the Fish Market and Bullfeather’s (Now O,Connell’s). I see a lot more people just walking around Alexandria, not just tourists but locals looking to go out,” he continues. “For example, Friday or Saturday Landini Brothers is just a zoo, it is hard to find a seat because so many people want to go there,” he laments.
In his spare time, which is limited, Marc would go to his boys Lacrosse games. “They played in high school and college,” he tells me. “I am a HUGE Washington Football Team aka Redskins fan,” he exclaims. When I asked if he is a Nationals fan he responded, “I am, but I grew up a Yankees fan so it makes it kind of tough. I did like the Nationals run, the Caps run was great, it’s kind of weird that I have brainwashed my kinds into being Washington Football fans and they have never been around for the good times, and it doesn’t look like they are going to be good any time soon!” Then Marc and I reminisced about the Hogs, the Super Bowl years and Joe Gibbs.
As we talked about the old days Marc brought up a good point, “there was so much talking going on and no TV’s, no TV’s. So now you come into a bar, you got TV’s, you see people sitting alone staring up at a game.” “Back then there was no way to do that so you started talking to people.”
During the pandemic Marc took up the game of golf again. “That really was the only thing you could do during the pandemic due to the social distancing inherent with the game. “I played a little early on, then my kids were born and I couldn’t get away. The weekends were tied up with family so now the pandemic gave me another opportunity to play golf.” “When the pandemic hit the boys were out of college and still living with us, their sport activities were over so a family of four was perfect for golf, so it gave us something to do on the weekends,” he continues.
From this point our interview was pretty much over but we continued to talk about Old Town and the early days. It is really nice to run into someone who has been an acquaintance for 35 years and get the chance to get to actually know one another. That is the quality of character this young man brings to the table. If you are looking for experts in real estate, land use, litigation and general corporate work, you might want to consider Donohue, Themak & Miller, PLC.