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December Foodie: Blake Fogelsong

The grandson of the original Clancy’s Hamburgers founder takes his family’s restaurant legacy back to the future.

For Blake Fogelsong, taking up the family business was never in question. When he was a kid, the grandson of Clancy’s Hamburgers founder and celebrated regional restaurateur Carl Fogelsong drew a picture of himself as the owner of all his family’s eateries. After two decades, a Ball State marketing degree, and helping to pioneer a host of creative restaurant concepts, the ambitious boy’s dream has largely come true. And while the adult Fogelsong may have a love for contemporary design, as well as fresher fare with international influences, he has made sure to keep his grandfather’s legacy alive.

“We’re trying to improve what we do every day, but we definitely know where we come from.”
Blake Fogelsong
The original Clancy’s in Noblesville, famous for its “Topper” burger and for having the first double drive-thru in the area, closed in late 2004. But Fogelsong, along with father Perry, still operates a host of restaurants, including the long-popular Grindstone Charley’s and the stylish new Grindstone on the Monon. What’s it like to work with his father? “We have our differences,” Fogelsong says, “But we don’t dig our heels in. You won’t find antiques on the wall at the newer spots, but we still have the original burger.”

That burger, along with the historic Clancy’s charm, will return at a new location planned for Bottleworks on Mass Ave this spring. For Fogelsong, who got his start cooking at Michaelangelo’s Italian Bistro, the family’s lone Italian restaurant, it will be a satisfying nod to his past. “We’re trying to improve what we do every day,” he says, “but we definitely know where we come from.”

For Fogelsong’s take on a salmon burger recipe, click here.

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.