Alvin "Al" Miller, 53, of Brewerton Road in Mattydale, died peacefully Saturday at home with his loving wife by his side. Al was a native of Mount Clemens, Michigan who grew up all over the US with his family as his father was serving with the Air Force. He came to the Syracuse area in 1969 and three years later resided in Mattydale. He was a 1979 graduate of North Syracuse High School and attended OCC.
Alvin Miller was a man with a million dollar smile and a heart of gold! Al was an amazing entrepreneur and a man with many talents. He worked as a a stand up comedian for some time, then he started a business called Car Art Autographics. He pinstriped cars for all different dealerships and installed sunroofs before the factories started doing it themselves. His next venture was The All Night Breakfast Jam in the City of Syracuse, now known as Limericks. A place where you could find music, food, atmosphere and Al, who made it a special experience. In 1995, he took an old bridal shop and turned it into a bar called Cougars Tavern, later known as Cougars Bayou Cafe. This small tavern started out as a local bar that supported bikers, baseball teams, NASCAR fans, football enthusiasts and every one in between. Al's love for people and his ability to entertain filled the place with a loving following. He put a kitchen in and then people started to know him for his amazing talent in the culinary arts. From his crawfish étouffée, gumbo, jambalaya, southern fried burger, Cajun lasagna, gater stew, and of course his legendary cornbread. He also started the Battle of the Bands that spotlighted local talent. He put on a show at the OnCenter called The CNY Motorcycle and Accessory Show that brought in dealers from all over highlighting all the new motorcycles and everything that goes with them. Then, in 2005 he put the Inner Harbor, in the City of Syracuse, on the map. Even City officials came to see what was going on at this spot that no one could seem to make anything happen with. When they saw people come from the SU game and the Irish fest to gather at the inner harbor, they asked, "how did you make this happen?" Al smiled and said, "I eliminated the, What If's." Coming from ALL of the people who had never even heard of the Inner Harbor, everyone was introduced to a great venue for a great show. He and he alone created the Hottest Chick N Wing Festival. This man put together venders, local bands, a beauty pageant and a great party with his unrelenting ability to make things happen. He filmed, edited and produced a biker build off that was broadcast on TV along with commercials highlighting local business. He sold Cougars in 2005 and started a catering business called Five Stars Catering. Along with his catering business, he opened a concession business called Hog Dogs - Home of the original Hog Dog. Of course in Al's unique way, this could not be just a hot dog stand. There was a hot dog with pulled pork made with his homemade BBQ sauce topped with cheddar cheese and many other gourmet style hot dogs.
His musical talents included playing in his band called Grandpas Medicine and a later band he put together called Cajun Heat. He was a singer, song writer and musician capable of playing many instruments. He sat in with a well known local band called, Los Blancos, playing the futouior, also known as the rubboard. This is a man that was given so many talents and he used each and everyone of them to entertain people. His love for people is what made him the most genuine man you could ever meet. His true passion for everyone and his ability to bring peace and comfort to so many, made him endearing in everyone's hearts. He would say to his wife, "we do not belong to ourselves." If anyone knows them, they know that was true. They shared their lives with so many. In 2012, the City of Syracuse named August 18th, Al Miller Day from here on out. It was truly an honor and a humbling experience for Al and a proud day for his family. There are people that know a lot of people but Al was man who has had such an impact on so many lives. Al was a man who lead with love even through the worst of adversities. He had such an amazing circle of friends from every faction of life, who loved him. He had a strong family always by his side with love and support. His son, Eric, was the single most loved and greatest accomplishment of his life. Alvin Miller was driven by his love for God and his faith. While we have lost a shining star, heaven has gained a beautiful soul with a million dollar smile!
Al is survived by his wife of 10 years, the former Debra (Plumpton); his parents, Willie and Susan (Williams) Miller of Mattydale; a son, Eric S. Miller of Eastwood; a step-son, David T. Bunch of Mattydale; seven siblings: Kevin (Heidrun) Miller of Cicero, Beverly Garr of Virginia Beach, VA, Dean Miller of Mattydale, Stanley Miller of Liverpool, Walter Miller of Mattydale, Alma Miller of Liverpool, and Sonya Miller of North Syracuse; his granddaughter, Gianna Miller; two step-grandchildren, Dominic Dionne and Nevaeh Bunch; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Friends may call on Wednesday from 12-3 pm and 6-9 pm at Krueger Funeral Home, 2619 Brewerton Rd., Mattydale. Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, 10 am at Church of the Resurrection, 7125 Collamer Road, East Syracuse.