Company 7 BBQ | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian
Company 7 BBQ in Englewood has been serving award-winning barbecue to customers from across the country for the past decade, combining the aesthetic of a 1920s firehouse with well-made food.
Bill and Mary Grilliot started the restaurant with their son Will and son-in-law Patrick Murty in 2010, two years after the Grilliots sold their manufacturing company Morning Pride Manufacturing.
“We enjoyed seeing people, and a restaurant is like a huge living room,” Mary Grilliot said. “Family friends and new friends arrive all of the time.”
The name Company 7 came from a variety of sources, including Bill Grilliot’s first badge number and the number of people in their family.
Crafting a winning recipe
They crafted the menu by bringing in a variety of recipes, including some from Bill’s mother.
“She could make anything taste wonderful, and between her recipes and the fire service recipes, we developed our menu and invested heavily in state-of-the-art barbecue technologies,” Mary Grilliot said.
These technologies include wood-fire and gas-fire smokers that can cook up to 1,000 pounds of meat at a time.
“We can be cooking 3,000 pounds of meat without batting an eye all day long seven days a week, so it gave us great capacity and it gave us great control over the quality of the product,” Mary Grilliot said.
Challenges for the restaurant
The biggest challenge that the restaurant has faced, according to Mary Grilliot, has been the coronavirus pandemic.
Company 7 BBQ instituted an online ordering program about three weeks before the pandemic hit.
“Many times, we get 60, 70, 80 orders a day on that online ordering system, so we were really lucky to have that,” Mary Grilliot said.
The restaurant also has been able to utilize its banquet room to help customers socially distance and feel comfortable dining.
“Constant cleaning and adhering to all government directives allowed us to give our customers a place they could go to get out while feeling safe,” pitmaster Will Grilliot said.
The menu at Company 7 BBQ features items that all customers can enjoy, including ribs, smoked chicken wings and meatloaf.
These items have won the restaurant several awards, including a spot on the 28 Best of the Best Barbecue Restaurants in America list from National Barbecue News and a feature on the Travel Channel.
Mary Grilliot attributes this to a lack of compromise within the business.
“Bad barbecue is good, but there’s no way it’s on the same level as tenderly smoked, hickory smoked, gas-fired 18-hour ribs,” Mary Grilliot said.
Will Grilliot believes that this success is also due to a sense of pride within the business.
“We have always felt that unless you are proud of what you do, there is no reason to do it,” Will Grilliot said. “Most jobs are just jobs to pay the bills. It changes how you view things when you begin to realize the impact you can have on others by going to work.”
Customer Kacie Spore and her husband Jamon have tried barbecue across the country, and after eating at Company 7 BBQ, they believe the food is high quality.
“We have tried BBQ from Texas, Las Vegas, Mississippi, Tennessee and everywhere in between, and Company 7 has been the best,” Kacie Spore said.
Another customer, Peter Qumsiyeh, also enjoyed his experience at the restaurant.
“I truly believe Company 7 BBQ has the best BBQ in Ohio, if not in the United States,” Qumsiyeh said.