Adams Morgan, Food and Drink, Interviews, Life in the Capital, People, The Features

He Loves DC: Ben Eisendrath

Ben Eisendrath of Grillworks, Inc

Ben Eisendrath (image courtesy of Grillworks, Inc.)

“If you want high-rise, get on the train.”

Tucked away on an Adams Morgan side street, off the alley entrance and past the Harley, lies a secret patio that just happens to be the headquarters of a foodie subculture – Grillworks, Inc.

Local entrepreneur Ben Eisendrath had been introducing friends to the glory of South American-style wood grilling for years before he chucked the daily grind to re-launch his father’s invention and transform it into a viable business. From “grubby greasy shop drawings” to 3D CAD renderings, Ben translated his father’s elegant design for the modern world. Shops in Michigan and Virginia now produce what’s known as the “Maserati of Grills.”

I’ve known Ben for over a decade, and in the majority of those years the highly coveted grill party invites have seen quite the menu range. From regular ol’ burgers to caribou sausage, from butterflied salmon on a bed of dill to goat leg – and those are just the protein options!  The simple beauty of the grill’s design enables it to weather all seasons, and it’s slowly expanded from just a quiet secret amongst locals to celebrity chefs and newscasters. And honestly – there’s just nothing like the hypnotic dance of the wood burning flames as they light the night.

Ben could easily pick up and move to another city. A Michigan native, he came to DC in 1993; his grandparents have lived here for a long time, and it seemed a manageable starter city for someone who’d never lived in a metropolis before. But somehow, as with so many of us, the city sucked him in. Ben’s a Washingtonian now. I asked him to talk about why he loves DC, the challenges of being a local entrepreneur, and where he goes to get his grub. Continue reading