Covet: A Carolina Atelier + NC Beer Map

This weekend only, we're adding in a copy of The Great NC Beer Map for anyone who backs the Covet Atelie Kickstarter at a $35+ level. Covet is a soon-to-be online shop that will be filled with beautiful handmade goods from NC and SC that celebrate the traditions and aesthetic of the New South. This project is by our dear friend, Kimi Pace, who we believe in deeply and who is putting in every ounce of herself to honor and bring together the handmade traditions of her home state. We understand the significant role of community support that Kickstarter provides, and we wouldn't be where we are without it. We're very happy to be part of this wonderful project for the Carolinas by offering our map as an add-on reward this weekend!

You have until 11:59PM Sunday, 10/11 to pledge and have the map added to your reward package. // PLEDGE BY CLICKING HERE.

Some of the wonderful things you can get with your Kickstarter pledge to Covet: A Carolina Atelier

Some of the wonderful things you can get with your Kickstarter pledge to Covet: A Carolina Atelier

Countdown to Beer Maps + the Printing Process

The maps are getting closer and closer to being available in our online shop! Yesterday, we visited Meredith-Webb in Burlington to approve the maps as they came off the press. It was so rewarding to see the (almost) final product - an idea and a whole lot of research and work over the course of nearly a year, now transformed to a real, tangible object. Such a mental payoff!

During the remainder of the week at Meredith-Webb, the maps will continue through their process of ink curing, paper cutting, folding, binding, and boxing. We will be pick up the maps next Tuesday, 10/6, and start readying them for their debut in our online shop by the end of the week!

Richard Green with Time Warner Cable News was there with us yesterday to film the printing process. Once this piece airs, it will be available in our press section. In the meantime, this is what the map goes through during this part of the process...

 


The Printing Process

1. After final proofs were approved first thing yesterday morning, an aluminum plate of the map was made for the offset lithographic printing process. (This technique originally started in the 1700s on limestone plates!)

2. The morning of printing, our sheets of paper were cut from 300+ pound rolls that came straight from the paper factory. We actually have two different types of paper for the map — a thinner sheet for our folded maps and a thicker cover stock for the posters.

3. Custom inks are mixed and tested on a device that simulates the offset lithographic process and a series of presses are set up with each ink and our final paper coating.

4. A printing technician adjusts the colors and ink weight to match the proof we approved. To do this, the press sheet goes on a special table for colors to be scanned, read and computed. There are other checks in place using different devices to test the alignment, bleed of the ink, etc. to insure that everything is in the correct place once the maps are trimmed and folded. 

5. Adjustments are made and the press runs until the ink levels are constant, creating a consistent look.

6. The map comes out as a double sheet, so once half the run has gone through, the paper is flipped and is printed on the back side.

7. After the ink has cured, the maps move into the trimmer, cutting them down into two separate sheets each, and trimming off the edges.

8. The maps then move into the folder, which has been set up especially for our number and series of folds. This map has both accordion folds and a final roll fold. It moves through a different mechanism of the folder to create each fold.

9. The maps are grouped and bound with paper bands into sets. Meredith-Webb makes custom boxes to hold the folded maps and flat poster sheets. There is a machine for everything!

10. We borrow a truck and drive it to Meredith Webb where a pallet of maps is lowered from an opening in the floor to the truck bed in the loading dock underneath.

11. We spend hours hauling in box upon box of maps and stacking them up for storage until they ship out.

Almost there!

Amanda + Paul

Brewery Spotlight: Dirtbag Ales

We have one remaining brewery in Eastern NC to highlight who has been a big contributor to our Kickstarter campaign - Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills. These brewery rewards have played a huge part in the funding we’ve received, so thank you to the breweries and the supporters for the roles you’ve each played in that. We look forward to finalizing the details on those rewards for you once the campaign wraps up.

The Story: As an Army medic on the emergency room night shift, Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela bargained for his buddy’s homebrew kit that he’d been gifted for his wedding. His friend gave in, receiving a promise for a lifetime of free beer. Tito began with a batch of kölsch and eventually learned how to solder, weld, plumb, and wire homemade brewing equipment to accommodate his ever-growing interest. As friends and family encouraged Tito to go pro, partners Gerald Montero and Eric Whealton joined in. Dirtbag Ales started brewing professionally out of Aberdeen's Railhouse Brewery. They opened their own space in the fall of 2014 and have been churning out kegs and bottles of beer ever since. Tito is also known for his experimental, one-off cask ales, such as an IPA with sauvignon blanc-soaked oak chips and orange blossom honey. An unfermented beer goes in the cask, with a handful of other ingredients, and two weeks later it comes out carbonated and ready to drink.

Beer to Try: Blood-Orange Kolsch, the beer that started it all

Where to Find It: at bars and bottle shops around Eastern NC and the Raleigh area

Brewery Experience: Dirtbag Ales contributed two rewards! A backer and a friend will get behind-the-scenes at Dirtbag Ales by helping to bottle a batch of beer. Another backer and three friends will assist in designing and brewing a small batch at Dirtbag Ales.

Brewery + Reward Spotlight: Boondock’s, Heinzelmannchen, One World

First off, we want to celebrate another milestone number on our Kickstarter campaign — we just got our 300th backer! How cool is it that these will be the very first 300 people in the world to have The Great NC Beer Map?! Very cool.

The breweries who have contributed Kickstarter rewards to our campaign will be the next place where you’ll be able to to find The Great NC Beer Map once it releases. Today, we bring you another brewery spotlight, touching on three breweries from the Western part of the state, all who got their start in homebrewing — Boondock’s Brewing, Heinzelmannchen Brewing, and One World Brewing. The rewards these breweries have contributed to our Kickstarter campaign have made an immense difference in the amount of funding we’ve received. We send a huge thank you out to them and to those who selected those pledge levels!

Boondock’s Brewing | West Jefferson 

The Story: For many years, Gary and Debbie Brown were Eastern NC residents of Rocky Mount, with a vacation home in Ashe County. During visits, Gary would fill up carboys of Ashe County spring water fresh from the creek to take back for homebrewing. Once he retired in 2012, Gary was ready to take his hobby to the next level and start a brewery in what he considers “God’s county.” Boondock’s Brewing began with small batches in their restaurant and taproom. They’ve now expanded to a second location and a bigger three barrel system at their Brew Haus, which they also use to host special events. Gary names many of his beers after the West Jefferson landmarks that drew him to the area and sources as many ingredients as possible from local farmers. Instead of brewing standard flagship beers, Gary likes to focus on experimentation to continue drawing inspiration from what surrounds him.

Beer to Try: West Jefferson Centennial Ale, a special release brewed with Centennial hops, local honey, and tips from Fraser Firs

Where to Find It: at the brewery

Brewery Experience: A backer and a guest will have seats at Gary's table at one of Boondock's Brewing’s monthly 5-course beer pairing dinners.

Boondocks Brewing - Tap Room & Restaurant

Boondocks Brewing - Tap Room & Restaurant

Heinzelmannchen Brewing | Sylva

The Story: Heinzelmannchen Brewmeister, Dieter Kuhn, was born and raised in Heidelsheim, Germany, where an appreciation for traditional German style beers was instilled at an early age. As a boy, he was sent to the local brauhaus to pick up the week’s worth of beer for his family, and he grew up with an uncle who malted grain for beer. After recreating traditional German beers as a homebrewer in the US, Dieter attended the Siebel Institute’s World Brewing Academy, so he could bring this style of beer to his new home in Sylva, a place that reminded him of the small German town of his youth. Dieter specializes in keg conditioned, unfiltered altbier at Heinzelmannchen Brewing — the ale style brewed in the warmer regions of Germany since the early days of brewing. This is the type of beer Dieter and his wife, Sheryl, love to drink and cook with, and some of those recipes are highlighted in their brewery cookbook. Heinzelmannchen also makes non-alcoholic, organic root beer and birch beer to make the brewery experience family friendly.

Beer to Try: Ancient Days Honey Blonde Ale, a pilsner brewed with local Catamount Honey

Where to Find It: at the brewery

Brewery Experience: A backer and 3 friends will attend a private 4-course beer pairing dinner at Heinzelmännchen Brewery, and everyone will take home a copy of Your Gnome-town Cookbook.

Always a perfect pairing

Always a perfect pairing

One World Brewing | Asheville 

The Story: Jay Schutz picked up homebrewing in his spare time when his stone masonry and carpentry work got slow, and he was encouraged by friends and family to turn his hobby into a new career. One of Asheville’s newest (2014) and smallest breweries (1.5 barrel system),One World Brewing occupies what's referred to as a speakeasy-like space in an early 1900s ceramics studio. Jay has put his skills from his previous career to use by covering the brewery in reclaimed wood from around Asheville. You enter the brewery via an alley, and you’ll find the taproom at the bottom of a flight of stairs, in a room underneath the building’s original stairway. With twelve fermenters, One World is constantly churning out new brews and even features batches by local homebrewers. Jay features a variety of beer styles from around the world, which is a great way to honor One World’s nod toward “community, sustainability, and honoring the diversity of life on this beautiful planet.” Jay also has plans to grow some of his ingredients in the future and to add solar panels to the building’s roof to help power the brewery.

Beer to Try: Hopsplosion Black IPA, since Jay is admittedly a hophead

Where to Find It: at the brewery

Brewery Experience: One World contributed two rewards! A backer will shadow the brewmaster for a day at One World Brewing. Another backer will have a beer named after him/her (or person of their choice) at One World Brewing and attend the release with a group of friends.

One World Flight

One World Flight

Thanks again to the breweries for providing these wonderful experiences for our backers! There are only 7 days left in our Kickstarter campaign, so if you want to be among the first to get The Great NC Beer Map, now's the time to click on over!

Brewery Spotlight: Four Saints, Heist, Unknown

One thing is for sure - The Great NC Beer Map wouldn’t be fully funded right now without all the breweries around the state who have offered up rewards for the Kickstarter campaign. So far, $1750 raised through Kickstarter has come from those brewery experiences. That’s a whopping 21% of our current funding!

To honor the breweries who have helped get us to our goal, we’d like to highlight a few things that set them apart. Today, we’ll start with our very own region, the Piedmont, giving you a closer look at Four Saints Brewing Company, Heist Brewery, and The Unknown Brewing Company. These breweries will also be some of the first places in the state where you can find The Great NC Beer Map.

 

Four Saints Brewing Company | Asheboro

The Story: No one has the DIY spirit as much as Four Saints. This brewery was funded through Kickstarter and formed over a love of making homebrew. Andrew Deming was a homebrewer and introduced Joel McClosky and a group of friends to the hobby over a batch of oatmeal stout. “Initially, the stout didn’t seem like it was going to make it,” Joel remembers. “Something seemed off. Andrew spoke with borrowed wisdom from Charlie Papazian [author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing], ‘Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.’” The friends brought it back and now it’s nearly the same recipe they use at the brewery. Once the four friends learned of the four patron saints of beer, they were inspired to turn their hobby into something more serious. By the end, the four became two, Andrew and Joel, and today they continue making “Great Beer for Great People.”

Beer to Try: Stout One, the Oatmeal Stout that started it all

Where to Find It: at the brewery

Brewery Experiences: Four Saints contributed 2 rewards! A backer and 3 friends will get to assist in designing and brewing a small batch. Another backer will have a beer named after them (or person of their choice) at Four Saints Brewing Company and attend the release with a group of friends.

Everybody at the brewery has their favorite Four Saints beer.

Everybody at the brewery has their favorite Four Saints beer.

 

Heist Brewery | Charlotte

The Story: Heist is known for culinary creativity that stretches well beyond their food to beer and cocktails. In fact, they even pull off a bit of alchemy with beer cocktails, interesting combinations of spirits topped with one of their brews. The last Thursday of every month, Unknown hosts “Flight School,” where they release a flight of five experimental, seasonal beers. Many of these are developed and brewed by assistant brewer, Alexa Long, Charlotte’s first female brewer. Alexa leaned to brew on her dad’s old home brewing equipment and also spent some time in London learning alongside a sixth-generation master brewer. She’s brought many of her homebrewing recipes to Heist through their small batch program and has become an integral addition to a team that includes other brewers, mixologists and chefs, all masters of their craft.

Beer to Try: "God Save the Queen City,” a Belgian Brown Ale that releases tonight, 7/8. The beer is on tap and available in limited speciality growlers that were co-designed with NoDa neighbors, Ink Floyd Screen Printers.

Where to Find It: at the brewery

Brewery Experience: a backer and 3 friends will get to assist in designing and brewing a small batch at Heist Brewing

5 cocktail inspired brews from a recent Flight School: Amaretto Sour, Mint Julep, White Russian, Penicillin, and Old Fashioned.

5 cocktail inspired brews from a recent Flight School: Amaretto Sour, Mint Julep, White Russian, Penicillin, and Old Fashioned.

 

The Unknown Brewing Company | Charlotte

The Story: The idea behind The Unknown Brewing experience is to step into the unknown: “The Unknown is about a way of life. It’s trying things that scare you… We are your first kiss or your last time jumping out of an airplane, or whatever your wildest adventure is.” And they make every effort to provide that sense of adventure at the brewery, whether its through frequent and inventive small batches; weekly cycling events around the neighborhood; rooms full of vintage arcade games, ping pong, and other diversions; or crazy events and parties, like Bacon Fest, Let's Get Tropical, or No Pants Parties. Dogs are allowed at their brewery, but they also have their own neighborhood “Brew Cat.” This past February, Unknown celebrated their first anniversary with a massive party and by breaking the Guinness World Record of Most Jumping High Fives at Once.

Beer to Try: 3 Elizabeths, a Blond Triple that’s named after the 3 blonde Elizabeths who work there

Where to Find It: at the brewery + select canned beers at NC & SC bars, restaurants, grocery stores, and bottle shops

Brewery Experience: a backer and 3 friends will get to assist in designing and brewing a small batch at Unknown Brewing Co.

Unknown’s 1 year anniversary Guinness World Record of Most Jumping High Fives at Once

Unknown’s 1 year anniversary Guinness World Record of Most Jumping High Fives at Once


Thanks again to these breweries for their support of The Great NC Beer Map and to the wonderful backers who pledged for these very cool rewards! We couldn't do this without you all!

Print-Outs for Gifting

Many of you have been pledging through our Kickstarter campaign to snag The Great NC BBQ Map for a gift. We think that's a mighty fine idea! But we know it's hard to wrap something up and tie a bow around it when you don't yet have the tangible object. If you're planning on gifting a map (or Kickstarter experience) before our anticipated August release, then you can print and package one of the postcards below. Just click to download. (You could also attach the image to an email if you'd rather go the digital route.)

NC Beer Map Coming Soon!

We've been working on our next big adventure over here at EDIA - The Great NC Beer Map! This is something we've wanted to do since the beginning and a map we've been asked to create I can't even tell you how many times. Is there really anything that goes better with BBQ than beer?! We don't think so. It's the perfect follow-up to our first project and the ultimate glovebox companion to The Great NC BBQ Map

We approached this map just as we did the BBQ map - thinking of all the questions we and others ask before hitting the road and then providing the answers with the map. This map will fill in the information gaps out there, telling you everything you'll need to know about each craft brewery in the state and a lot of context about the art and science of brewing to help you really understand and appreciate what's inside the glass, once you get there.

To be sure you're one of the first to get your hands on this map, hop on over to our Kickstarter page to pre-order and check out the other exclusive rewards and experiences we have available there. You have until July 24 to help fund the project so we can take The Great NC Beer Map to print!

Southern Islander Cocktail or BBQ in a Glass

Somewhere between a tiki drink and a shrub, and inspired by North Carolina barbecue, we created this drink for our friends at Feast + West. This Father's Day, mix one up for dad with whiskey, honey syrup, pineapple juice, and his favorite NC BBQ sauce, plus honey and hickory smoked sea salt for the rim. It's as close as you can get to barbecue in a glass, and it goes great with a plate of NC's finest. Hop on over to Feast + West for the full recipe.

This drink is a great excuse to stock your pantry with North Carolina ingredients (which can all go right next to your copy of The Great NC BBQ Map, of course).

Ingredient Note: We used Bill Spoon's Barbecue Eastern style sauce, which gave the drink a nice spicy kick. For a milder effect, let the spices settle a little after giving the sauce a shake.

3 Festivals to Get Your Weekend Started Right

There are a slew of spring festivals in NC this weekend, and many of them include BBQ. Pick one of these 3 around the state, and get ready to hit the road...

1. Melange of the Mountains >>> Cooking and brewing competitions in Waynesville & Haywood Smokehouse BBQ is making an appearance.

2. Fremont Daffodil Festival >>> Fremont does it right with crafts, music and BBQ. 

3. Beer & Bacon Fest >>> Learn some pork DIY during the Butchering 101 demo this Saturday in Cary.

5 BBQ Adventures for Spring

As we're being teased with 60 degree sunshine, Paul and I have felt inspired to start drafting our Spring road trip wish list. Get prepared for warm-weather wanderlust and start routing your own travels around the state! If you need a little inspiration, plan a trip around one of these 5 NC BBQ restaurants that offer more than just pulled pork.

Our trusty road trip companion, Clementine, enjoying a helping of hushpuppies.

Our trusty road trip companion, Clementine, enjoying a helping of hushpuppies.

Sim's Country BBQ | Granite Falls, NC: Listen to live bluegrass, watch the cloggers, and after you fill up on their BBQ buffet, cut a rug on the dance floor.

Barnyard BBQ & Flea Market | Peachland, NC: Use your BBQ fuel to shop the flea market. Bet you can find something pig-themed as a memento for your trip!

CJ's Bar-B-Cue | Cleveland, NC: Get there on Thursdays for live gospel music in the restaurant featuring different groups from around the area.

The Fire Pit | Wake Forest, NC: The restaurant parking lot is transformed into a car show on the 4th Saturday of every month. Dream about which car you'd like to take on your next BBQ road trip.

The Blue Note Grill | Durham, NC: This spot has live music every night and features everything from jazz to blues to bluegrass to country -- something for every musical interest.

For details on each restaurant’s location and style of BBQ, refer to your copy of The Great NC BBQ Map. If you don’t have one yet, grab one here.

BBQ Touring: Top 5 Tips

With Labor Day coming up, what better time is there than a 3-day weekend to plan a BBQ tour? Pick an area around NC -- whether it's across the state or in your own backyard -- and spend the day sampling some of state's finest. Make barbecue more than just a meal -- turn it into an adventure!

Between researching for The Great NC BBQ Map and putting together trips with friends and family, Paul and I have done our fair share of BBQ touring. I think the most restaurants we've eaten at in one day is five, though we've heard tales of people doing more! We put together a few tips along the way that will help you plan your own BBQ tour and keep you from entering into a food coma.

1. Grab your copy of The Great NC BBQ Map and plan your route. Will you be touring while traveling or just day-tripping from home? You have two choices here: 

(A) Pick an area of high concentration and focus there, hitting multiple stops in one town/city/county. We like this option if you want to hit 2-3 places just for lunch or dinner and not plan an entire day around BBQ. Two or three stops can easily be done back-to-back for a single meal.

(B) Start in one area and end up in another, peppering barbecue into your route, along with other stops. We like this option for making a day of it, whether traveling or staying close to home. By spreading out your stops, you can get in more restaurants -- easily 5, and more if you're a real thrill-seeker. For your first meal, begin at a BBQ joint that starts serving early, so that you can have BBQ for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In between restaurants or groups of restaurants, do some sightseeing and check out more of the area you're touring. (A walk in the park or through town is not a bad idea!)

2. Share! Do not attempt to eat five barbecue sandwiches in one day by yourself! You only need to get a taste of everything, so just split a sandwich (and hushpuppies, corn nuggets, Brunswick Stew, or whatever classic sides you want to sample) and move on to the next stop. Depending on the number of stops you have and how many people are with you, you can go halvsies or split four ways.

3. It's easiest to compare the 'cue if you order the same thing from each restaurant. We like to go classic with a barbecue sandwich and an order of hushpuppies. We go for pulled or chopped, whichever the restaurant specializes in. And we take it as it comes, with whatever slaw or sauce they add on.

4. If you want to rate the restaurants to determine which type of BBQ you like the best, decide on your criteria ahead of time. What factors will you be considering? Ideas include: level of smoke, moistness of meat, the chop/texture, bun, slaw, sauce, sweet tea, etc. Some people even take it as far as rating a restaurant on its napkins and ice! Come up with a list, and have fun with it!

5. Take notes and photos. It's hard to keep up with all that barbecue, so have a way of remembering your stops! The Great NC BBQ Map has a section for note-taking, so bring along something to write with. If you snap pics, share them on The Great NC BBQ Map Facebook pageTwitter, or Instagram, with hashtag #NCBBQMAP. We'd love to see your travels, and we'll repost some of our favorites.

Hot off the Press

Part I: Feelings

I write this update from the road, having just left Meredith-Webb Printing Company, and we are giddy. There aren't words to describe how we feel seeing this map in its final stages, how what started as just an idea - just a flash while I was reading a book one day, planning a trip - is now an actual tangible object. Everyone at Meredith-Webb came out to see the BBQ map people, Amanda and Paul, and we had a sign welcoming us at the door. These people have all SEEN the map - they were the first to see it - and they are just as excited about it as we are. We stood around and told stories about our favorite BBQ, about one manager's family member picking up sauce in NC to drive down to TX, about which BBQ joint catered which employee's wedding. And we heard how they all stood around looking for their favorite BBQ restaurants when the map came in for proofing. (And they found them all - hooray!) It was a great reminder of the sense of community that's behind barbecue, how it's a unifying force, how it brings people together. Every time this happens - every time we have that realization - it's a bit of a shock. It's a feeling of coming home to something, of something warm and familiar, and yet because of barbecue, it's a feeling that can exist among strangers. Our biggest hope for you all is that you will find a piece of that on your travels with this map, that this map will be more than a way to get you from meal-to-meal, that it will also be a way of falling into this sense of community, this NC barbecue family that exists out there in the ether.

Part II: Facts 

We were welcomed by Matt, who has been our main point of contact at Meredith-Webb, and as things were being finalized for the map, we jumped right into a tour of the facility. He gave us a completely new perspective on the lithographic printing process and an even greater appreciation for what this map will be in the end. Creating this map really has been a team effort every step of the way, with so many hands touching it, adding their part, their expertise, their art form.

Matt took us into the room where the aluminum plates are made for printing, a process that originally started in the late 1700's on limestone plates. Yes, lithography goes way, way back, almost as far back as barbecue! (Please click the hyperlink for a history and description, as I won't begin to do it justice.) Then we moved through every part of the process until we saw our own maps on the press...

Left to right: Meredith-Webb cuts all their paper into sheets from these 300+ pound rolls that come straight from the paper factory. Our map started out on a roll just like this. | Where any custom inks are mixed and tested on a device that simulates the offset lithographic process. | The paper passes through each of these presses, all containing a different color. Our map also got a special coating.

Left to Right: Proofing the map one final time as a test print comes off the press. We've already had paper proofs of the map, but this was the first time we saw the map as an offset lithographic print on our actual paper. The printing-floor team compared this test proof with our proof to match the colors and make any adjustments. After a few small tweaks, I signed off, and they were ready to run! | A test map just off the press, right before the final run was to start. | The job board for the day, with The Great NC BBQ Map right at the top!

Matt just checked in with us about an hour ago, and the maps are on to trimming. Next up: folding. Now that is one machine we'd like to see in action!

We left happy, excited, relieved, and well... hungry! How did we celebrate all this? With barbecue, of course! Good thing we had a BBQ map.

Absolutely delicious barbecue, sides, and smoked jalapeno poppers right down the road at Dickie-Do's!

Until next time, friends,
Amanda + Paul

Month 1 Recap

We can't believe a month has already passed since the end of our Kickstarter campaign, and yet at the same time, it feels like two! We've packed a lot of work into these past weeks and have made quite a bit of progress on the map. We thought we'd share some of those highlights with you.

Design...
Right away, we finished all the components for the special sections of the map, on the history of barbecue in America and the two North Carolina styles. We are so excited about these features and feel like both the information, and the way its presented graphically, is going to knock your socks off! We created a hand-sketched, to-scale mock-up of the map to send to our designers at Good-South, and having that makeshift map in our hands really made this whole project feel so much more real. We've already received the first round of designs on the cover and symbols, and they blew us away! We could not be happier with the designers we chose for this map. Their aesthetic is spot-on, and we know they're going to bring our concepts to fruition in a really engaging way.

Data...
The majority of our time has been spent on gathering the rest of the data on the barbecue restaurants. We were finishing our restaurant list as Kickstarter was ending, and the final number was much higher than we anticipated. That has meant that the process following that has taken longer than we had hoped. First came the weeding: restaurants that are closed, any that order their barbecue from a supplier (not many of those, thank goodness), and any national chains that don't have their roots in NC. And we've had to make some tough calls on the difference between a barbecue restaurant and a restaurant that serves barbecue. Through this entire process, we've kept in mind how tied to NC culture and history barbecue (and thus this map) is, and that has driven our decisions. That means you'll see those traditional barbecue-only restaurants, but also some grills, buffets, and family style restaurants, all serving barbecue, since those types of restaurants have been closely tied to barbecue culture over the last century.

As we have been narrowing our list, we have been calling every single barbecue restaurant in the state to get the data needed to get them on the map. This involves about 10 minutes worth of questions to be sure we have the restaurants' basic information and to find out more about their barbecue. Of course, some of these question-and-answer sessions have turned into long conversations about barbecue, which we've loved! Restaurant owners are excited about the map. In fact, many have already heard about it, and were just waiting for our call! We are so grateful that we've been able to go into these calls with energy already building, and we know we owe that to Kickstarter and all the attention generated from the campaign.

Press...
We have been fortunate to get more publicity for the map. A few weeks ago, I did a radio interview for Cooking Outdoors with Mr. Barbecue that broadcasts to 15 different radio stations in Oregon and Washington. It is great to know that people all over the country are excited about this map! (Remember, I also had the interview with Grilliant Ideas Radio, based in the Northeast, and people from over a dozen different states pre-odered the map through Kickstarter.) We also had an interview and photo shoot for Charlotte Magazine, and that article will appear in their June issue. Just after our Kickstarter campaign was funded, the Charlotte Observer also ran a story on the map, and we received coverage on some TV news stations in Western North Carolina. The outpouring of interest and enthusiasm for this map never ceases to amaze us!

We feel like we've hit a lot of significant milestones in this first post-Kickstarter month, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. If you'd like to keep up with more day-to-day and behind-the-scenes updates, then follow along on Facebook and Twitter. You can also see what we're up to on each of our Instagram pages (Amanda + Paul). We do our best to pop our heads up from the work to tweet and comment, but know that we are working away day and night to get this map from our hands into yours!

Mike's Reminder

This week, we've been calling all the barbecue restaurants on our list to gather the rest of the map data. This involves asking each restaurant owner a series of 16 questions and explaining a little about the map as we go along. We get through as many restaurants as we can between their lunch and dinner rushes and analyze and sort the data the rest of the time. This is an all-day affair that will last through next week.

With so many restaurants to get through (well over 300 now), it's easy to get caught up in the work and start thinking about these restaurants in terms of numbers, instead of places. But the people and their stories bring us back every time. Everyone we've talked to has been so gracious and eager to tell us about their barbecue. (Ok, we did have the phone slammed down one time, but we'll get to them somehow.) But the man who I just talked with at Cove Creek BBQ & Grocery in Rutherfordton just reminded me of the heart and soul of this map.

Mike has been running the BBQ joint out of the Rutherfordton gas station for two years, but he went to the country store, where the restaurant got its start, back when he was a boy. The store was a farm supply with moonshine in the basement and a caged squirrel out front that the kids could feed by buying some peanuts. The recipe for Mike's "Miss Daisy" sauce (an Eastern-style barbecue sauce) came from Miss Daisy who ran a sandwich shop down the road, and when she passed, he started using her recipe in remembrance. Mike is very proud of his barbecue, and he's also very proud of his family. He told me about two of his sons who live down the road from Paul and me, one in Mt. Pleasant, where we grew up. 

Mike's stories really made his barbecue restaurant come alive and they brought me back from my questionnaire comma. Mike has a lot to do with why we decided to make a barbecue map in the first place. It really is about the people, their stories, and the traditions they are carrying on. Aside from how much we love the taste of it, that is what drew us to barbecue. To us, barbecue is much more than pulled pork piled high on a bun. It's a way of life, a history, an identity for so many people, and that's the other part of the love and appreciation we want to spread.

Thank you, Mike, for that reminder. And thank you to all those out there who are living their dream every day, sun-up to sun-down, tending those wood coals and those restaurants, telling your stories, and helping us remember. You are an inspiration to us, and we do this for you.