December Foodie: Blake Fogelsong

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

Tony Valainis

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.

[pullquote align=”left” caption=”Blake Fogelsong”]“We’re trying to improve what we do every day, but we definitely know where we come from.”[/pullquote]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.