Our Story

Grillworks Inc (now Grillworks LLC) was founded by Charles Eisendrath, my father. He was born in Chicago and grew up in St Louis before becoming a foreign correspondent for Time Magazine in the '60s and early '70s. Subsequently he was exposed to some of the best outdoor cuisine the world had to offer. France, Turkey, and Chile were major stops along his career route, but the place that seized him with both hands was Argentina. Where grilling is religion.

Argentine Inspired. American Made.®

Upon our return to the US my father happily embarked on his academic career at the University of Michigan, but found he was thoroughly dissatisfied with one thing about home - American grilling. His dreams were filled with the open fire cooking he'd fallen for in Argentina. Not to be deprived he set about designing his "dream grill" during the academic summers, focusing on making grilling over live wood fires easy. Fourteen prototypes and countless material combinations later he presented to perplexed family and friends a stainless steel machine that satisfied his requirements and even had a unique beauty about it. He dubbed it "The Grillery". Many dinner parties followed.

Shortly his friends wanted their own. Then their friends called. Stories appeared in the paper. Horrified Julia (Mom) was pressed into service as Treasurer. Letters sent on a lark were answered by calls from food great James Beard, among others, who famously invited my father to his New York office with grill in tow then didn't allow the grill to leave. The design was soon granted a US Patent.

25 years of adventures in grilling followed.

Over those years I learned the art of fire at our family farm, and of organizing the firewood for furnace, wood stove, fireplace and of course, grills. I earned my allowance stamping serial numbers onto Dad's grills. So when he announced that he'd "had his fun" and would shut down the company, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Grillworks was always part of the family vocabulary -- it couldn't go away. So after a fateful family fishing trip I left my corporate dot-com career, seized the hand-drawings that were the heart of the original designs and relaunched Grillworks. A lengthier tale about what makes a grillmaker can be found here, prepared for The Atlantic.

In 2007 the first NEW Grillworks grill left the new shop -- my shop.

Dad and I make the Grillworks handoff official. 2007

Dad and I make the Grillworks handoff official. 2007

Today Grillworks® has been a wood-burning institution for over 35 years, and is still in the family. Our product line has much expanded, but importantly, Dad's original Grillery is still at the core of every grill we build.

Have a question? Don't hesitate to call us. Want to see a Grillworks-powered restaurant? Check out our map.

If you'd prefer to talk to a highly qualified Grillworks customer, we've begun tapping Ambassadors around the country who are happy to talk or show you how they use their grills. They are uncompensated friends of ours - both enthusiasts and professional chefs, who will speak frankly of their experience with our products. We are happy to provide their contact information on request.

Thank you for visiting.


Ben Eisendrath


A fresh Michigan Lake Trout on the Dual CRE made just for Dad, seated with Mom. 2015

A fresh Michigan Lake Trout on the Dual CRE made just for Dad, seated with Mom. 2015