IBJ Podcast: ‘We’re survivors’—how the founders of Clancy’s Hamburgers and Grindstone Charley’s evolved to The Fountain Room

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Noblesville-based Clancy’s Hospitality has been creating and running restaurants in central Indiana—and much of the Midwest—for nearly 60 years. The names are instantly recognizable for folks who have lived in these parts for a while, including Clancy’s Hamburgers, Grindstone Charley’s, Michaelangelo’s Italian Bistro, Red Rock Roadhouse and, most recently, The Fountain Room at Bottleworks District. But you almost certainly don’t know the name Fogelsong. Carl Fogelsong co-founded Clancy’s in 1965, and incredibly it has stayed in the same family for 58 years. It’s now on its third generation of leadership, with Carl’s grandson Blake spearheading a recent surge of restaurant openings alongside his father, Perry Fogelsong.

The story of Clancy’s Hospitality in many ways is the story of the central Indiana restaurant industry. Clancy’s Hamburgers beat McDonald’s to the punch in many areas in the 1960s, but it eventually was overpowered by burger chains. Grindstone Charley’s was on the front end of the casual American trend in the early 1980s, but the rise of national competitors put it at a disadvantage. But Clancy’s Hospitality is nothing if not scrappy, and it has continued to adjust to new trends while leveraging savvy real estate decisions. It has a successful entry for the food hall trend—actually a version of its original concept—while also embracing high end dining with The Fountain Room.

For this week’s edition of the IBJ Podcast, Perry and Blake join host Mason King for a freewheeling conversation about the evolution of Clancy’s Hospitality over 58 years. The family-owned firm currently counts eight restaurants: Two Clancy’s Hamburgers, two Grindstone Charley’s, one Michaelangelo’s, The Fountain Room and two next-generation versions of Grindstone Charley’s—Grindstone Public House in Noblesville and Grindstone on the Monon in Westfield.

Click here to find the IBJ Podcast each Monday. You can also subscribe at iTunesGoogle PlayTune In, Spotify and anyplace you find podcasts

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