The Local G.O.A.T. Public House is a new restaurant concept taking over the recently closed Tilted Kilt property on Cross Keys Rd in Gloucester Township.
This new trendy casual eatery and bar concept is being developed by Alisha Miller and her team, who are known for their successful Rack’s Bar locations in Williamstown and Atco.
The settlement just took place on Tuesday and already the team is onsite clearing out the old tables, ahead of a full restyling!
This afternoon I had a chance to visit with Alisha, her husband Jay, General Manager Matt, and the newest member to the team, Felix… who will be the new chef at the Local G.O.A.T.
When the restaurant and bar opens in June, Alisha promises a completely different restaurant and bar experience than what was previously in the building.
And let me make this clear early on… The Local G.O.A.T. will not be an Irish pub, as a popular commercial news website speculated on recently (who me?).
It makes sense that she goes in a completely different direction considering they already operate the two successful Rack’s Pubs and Grills, which are located very close to her new restaurant, in Williamstown and Atco.
So the team promises a completely new dining and bar experience the next time you return to the Cross Keys Rd location.
Every single surface of the interior will be changed. Every wall will be repainted a new color. Most of the woodwork that you saw previously in the bar, will likely be gone.
The transformation is expected to take 6 weeks or so, with a June opening.
Other changes taking place are all new tables and seating, new bar tops and bar front façade walls.
They are eager to get started… the place was basically already empty when I visited, with all of the tables and chairs removed ahead of the heavier restyling efforts.
Later on down the road she has plans for even more upgrades including ideas for an improved patio, but for now the goal is to reopen as the Local G.O.A.T. Grill + Public House!
Oh and yes, the Scottish kilt uniforms are permanently gone from Cross Keys Rd!
Keep scrolling and reading for more on The Goat, Rack’s and the story behind the scenes! Thank you Alisha and team for meeting with me today and allowing me to post this!
Alisha Miller – From Bartender to Bar Owner
I shared with Alisha that she was one of my early 42Freeway stories. Her Williamstown location was opening up just around the time I had started writing the 42Freeway website.
Eight years later and today was the first time we’ve actually met. That being said I’ve been a fan of hers for as long as I’ve heard of her story.
I love the self-made success stories that cross my path so many times in writing about local people who put everything on the line, to chase their dreams and open their own businesses.
Alisha defines that “local self-made success” that makes me so happy to see and write about!
She has a degree in Social Services but through the College years, and then many years afterwards, she has worked in variety of bars in South Jersey and Philadelphia… typically bartending.
Her husband Jay said… while admitting his opinion is likely biased a little… that Alisha is the best bartender he’s ever seen. Her eyes never stop seeing things, her ears never stop hearing things. She’s making drinks, hearing orders yelled out from people several seats away, while also being focused on whether the napkins were placed properly underneath ALL of the drinks on the bar.
So I asked her directly… why you? Why of all many thousands of bartenders who have worked in South Jersey for the last 25 years, why have you been able to breakthrough and not only own your own bar, but now three!?
She explains one of the key drivers is she comes from a regular South Jersey family where mom and dad had to work for every penny they had, and to pay for her college.
Her parents had faith and trust in their daughter, but also wondered about Alisha’s degree. Would she ever use it?
She made a deal with her parents that her goal was to own her own bar, and if she didn’t own one by the time she was 30 she was walking away from the bar industry completely… and would fully dive into her degreed career in social services.
And on the year she turned 30, Alisha purchased her first bar, the Rack’s Atco location. At the time it was a small bar within the strip mall. But it was a huge step, and it was only the beginning.
Think about that… bartender to bar owner by 30 years old! And five years later she was building an all new free-standing Rack’s bar on the property next to the stripmall.
Her supportive parents were 100% on board with her plans to be a bar and restaurant owner. She tells the story of how when she was just starting out as a young first time bar owner, she found herself without a kitchen chef.
Her Dad was looking for a change in his career at the same time, and he joined on and was the Rack’s Atco chef!
A supportive family has always been a part of her success. But if you listen to Alisha talk about her ownership philosophies, and hear what the folks around her have to say about her, you realize a few things.
She is a very driven to do things right, to be successful, to empower those around her, all while still being a very friendly and personable person.
A perfect combination for someone to succeed in the industry
And to be clear.. as I share her success story, Alisha is the first to give credit to her team for making everyone in the organization successful.
She strongly believes in hiring the right people and giving them the guidance and trust, to run things properly and to make the right decisions for the business.
As a bartender she was very observant to how other bar owners managed their operations. She noticed how some owners every night would just sit at the bar and constantly watch what the staff did, and critiqued all of their actions and mistakes.
Alisha realized that’s not what she wanted to be. That’s not what would lead her to success. She wanted the team to be the reason for the successes.
With her gently guiding and nudging from behind the scenes, of course. She has a ton of insight and energy to take things in, and turn that knowledge into actions.
Her first Rack’s location in Atco? it wasn’t for sale. She asked and chatted with owner about the idea for many months, and eventually he saw something in her drive which made him agree to sell Alisha the bar.
The second Rack’s location in Williamstown? Same story.. she was talking to that owner about taking it over when it wasn’t even for sale. A year later he called her back “Are you still interested?”
And the Tilted Kilt property? Owner Amol was so far from selling the bar that just this past fall he made a considerable investment on plans for a full redesign of the building, and even went to the Planning Board for approval.
The Tilted Kilt building was never for sale. But Alisha made the deal happen.
The Local G.O.A.T. Public House – Trendy Casual
I chatted with the team for almost an hour.
Regarding her plans for the new Local G.O.A.T. she says, “I have a clear vision about what I want the Local G.O.A.T. to be”
So I’ve already mentioned the look of the bar will be completely changed with a new color scheme.. (black and white with some splashes of red, similar to what you see in the restaurant’s logo)
The extensive tap system is remaining and she absolutely plans on fully utilizing it with all of the top beers, both locally and beyond.
But over the recent pandemic years the bar industry has seen customers return to classic cocktails, and Alisha plans on making that a big part of the bar experience.
Absolutely they want to make the perfect drink, exactly the way expert cocktail makers prepare them. But she also wants to expand beyond the boundaries of a traditional mixed drink and has many surprises in store for customers.
The menu will have its roots in classic pub fair, but in a similar fashion she’s looking to take everything three levels up.
Felix was telling me about his buttermilk chicken thighs which uses his own secret seasoning recipe to create a crispy, flaky, incredibly delicious chicken dish.
Sure it’s a classic fried chicken dish, but the “from scratch” recipe with amazing fresh ingredients.. well Felix is going to take it to another level.
And they will be sourcing ingredients from local farms and suppliers, which is already “the norm” at Rack’s. Local farms such as the very nearby Stella’s, and Pastore Orchards in Hammonton.
While all of her locations offer amazing food it’s clear that at the Local G.O.A.T. she wants the cocktails and the food to be the star of the show.
Fitting that same theme, she has no plans for any live entertainment at the Local G.O.A.T. If you want to see the best musicians that South Jersey has to offer, she’s happy to accommodate you… In Williamstown or Atco.
I’ll be back in a few weeks for a preview look to share with readers.
Congratulations to Alisha, Jay and the entire team!
Links and Locations
The Local G.O.A.T Public House
645 Berlin Cross Keys Road
Gloucester Township, NJ
Rack’s Pub and Grill – Website