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Sugar House Journal

Wood fire revolution taking place in SH backyard

May 08, 2017 10h28 ● By Travis Barton

A shop class prepares to start at the Traeger Grills headquarters at 1215 S. Wilmington Ave. The class, taught by Traeger pit masters, teaches students how to make authentic meals from its grills providing manuals for the job. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Travis Barton | [email protected]

Traeger Grills has made Sugar House feel like its own land of comfort, like a backyard.

“It honestly just felt like home,” Denny Bruce said about setting up in Sugar House. Bruce is the executive vice president of sales, product and marketing for the wood fire grill company.

Arriving in September 2015, the company known for its different approach to grilling—it uses wood pellets as opposed to gas grills—has established its corporate headquarters in Sugar House on 1215 E. Wilmington Ave.

“We couldn’t be more happy to be in Sugar House…we are loving this neighborhood,” Bruce said. Bruce, who lives in Heber, highlighted how multiple employees commute over an hour and prefer doing so since the location is Sugar House.

He said employees love shopping and eating at the various shops and restaurants in the area. They also regularly walk, run and exercise along the canal and pathway that leads into Sugar House Park.

Originally, the company was based out of Springville, Utah and Mount Vernon, Oregon. As a way to improve its efficiency, Bruce said the company decided to create a headquarters settling on Sugar House.

Bruce, along with Traeger CEO Jeremy Andrus, joined the company from Skullcandy. Bruce said just as Skullcandy can be synonymous with Park City, he hopes the same can be said for Traeger Grills and Sugar House.

“We take a lot of pride in being part of the company and since day one when we got here, that’s what we tried to instill,” he said. Whether it’s cooking for a refugee soccer program or the local shelter, Bruce said they have a lot of pride in the local community.

He said Andrus’s comment to him is “how can we win in the rest of the country, if we can’t win first and foremost, in our own backyard.”  

The grilling company has aimed to bring its own uniqueness to not only Sugar House, but every backyard it can.

Instead of charcoal or gas, the grills made by Traeger are designed to cook, grill, bake, roast, smoke or barbecue over wood pellets as a way for improved quality.

“Literally, you can taste the difference between our grill and a gas grill,” Bruce said.

He also pointed out the digital controls on some of the grills that, when connected to your phone, allows you to adjust temperature settings from anywhere. Grills are designed to make people feel “after a few times cooking, that they’re a pit master.”

The company recently held a contest with teams of four plying their hand at grilling. With teams including various cooks from differing barbecue joints, the winners included a local entrepreneur and UFC fighter.

Most importantly, Bruce said, might be the sense of community they believe it can bring.

“It’s about bringing people together as family, friends and neighbors,” he said, noting how the wood fire smell might cause a neighbor to peek over the backyard fence leading to a barbecue invite.

Users have let Bruce know how much the grill has affected their lives with people cooking with the grill five to six times a week. One user told him it literally changed his life.

“I realize how that sounds, ‘a grill changing people’s lives,’ but literally it brings people together, it changes the way they consume their food,” Bruce said.