This week’s Young & Hungry column tells the story of the Grillery, the “most famous grill that nobody has.”
Started in the late 1970s by Charles Eisendrath, the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Grillworks company was essentially an exercise in “recreational capitalism” for its founder, who was far more interested in his work in the journalism field. The former Time magazine foreign correspondent made it virtually impossible for potential customers to buy his Argentine-style grill.
It wasn’t until 2007, when son Ben Eisendrath took a buyout from AOL, that Grillworks was finally treated as a proper, full-service enterprise. You can read the Grillworks’ story here.
So how did father feel about son taking over his oft-neglected company? I asked Charles Eisendrath that question in an e-mail while he was visiting Moscow last month. His response:
I never dreamed that this would or could happen, which is one of the reasons I was so thrilled when it did.
A living legacy is the best kind, and we’re having fun merging mine with his in a couple of new product ideas, one of them an in-fireplace model, the other a clockwork rotisserie mechanism still in development.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery