How it all started...
We both grew up in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina, a small farming and used-to-be mill town in the Piedmont. Those roots gave us an appreciation for the rural life and a love of the country back roads. Coming from a small town in North Carolina, having a love for barbecue was a given. There were three places to eat in Mt. Pleasant, and one of those was a barbecue joint. Beyond that, there was a church or fire department fundraiser nearly every weekend, and to get to the best of them, we drove.
Once we each moved away, we continued planning barbecue stops into road trips, not only because of the fine food, but because a barbecue restaurant epitomizes the town it's in. It's a gathering place — not just of people, but of identity. When you step through the doors, you surround yourself with the town's culture and sense of self and, oftentimes, a big piece of its history. And as we all know, every restaurant has its own way of doing things and its own interpretations and opinions of what barbecue is. You will never see a fiercer, more passionate group of people than barbecue people. They are prideful, as they should be, because they are carrying forth tradition, yet finding ways to make it their own.
Before this map, finding these barbecue joints was oftentimes a difficult thing. Countless hours were spent researching stops, scouring books and online resources and still coming up short. The existing resources oftentimes focused on the same group of restaurants, yet we knew there were so many more hidden down the back roads. And even with what we did find, we wanted to know more: how did they cook their barbecue, what was the style like — objective facts, not opinions and reviews. We wanted one resource with all the information, and in order to make sense of it all, it needed to be on a map. But there wasn't one. How could North Carolina — the state where United States barbecue dug in and started its own roots before people packed up traditions and moved West — not have something as necessary as a barbecue map? So there was only one thing to do, really... make it ourselves.
Thankfully, aside from our love of travel and maps, we brought other things to the table that made this a good fit. Amanda is the entrepreneur with the business mind and the background in marketing/PR and the arts. She can spot a good idea from 5 miles away and can figure out just how to get there. Paul's background is in geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), so he had the cartography and data handled. So we put our heads together and got to work. We also completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to get it all off the ground. Four months after that ended — and about two years after the work first started — we had a map.
In the end, we didn't just make a NC BBQ map, we started a business — a map publishing company. It's called EDIA, and the name comes from something that's been a motto for years: "Every day is an adventure." It's something we both fully believe. Every day is an adventure, whether it's across the globe or in your own backyard. If there is a life's passion, it is that — to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the adventure in the everyday, and to inspire others to do the same. Oftentimes, all that requires is the tiniest change in perspective, and we hope our maps will do that — take the everyday and shift it just enough so that it becomes something extraordinary.
Our company launched in the summer of 2014 with the release of The Great NC BBQ Map, the first printed road map of BBQ and the most comprehensive guide to be found on the topic. We followed with the The Great NC Beer Map and the Charlotte Adventure Map. All three are in their 2nd edition. Our latest, the Carolina Fried Chicken Map, is our first map to include our sister state of South Carolina.
In the News...
Fox News 8
Fox's Good Day Charlotte: Feb 2016 + Aug 2017
TWC's Around Carolina: 2014 + 2015
WCNC's Charlotte Today: Sep 2014 + Feb 2016 + Sep 2017 + Nov 2017
WNCN's My Carolina Today: Nov 2014 + Dec 2014
WRAL's Tarheel Traveler: Nov 2014 + Nov 2015
Cheers Charlotte: Sep 2013 + Oct 2014
Cooking Outdoors with Mr. Barbecue: Apr 2014 + Aug 2014
Fermentation Nation: Jul 2015 + Oct 2015
Grilliant Ideas Radio Network
Sauced Life, Blog Talk Radio
WDAV Biscuits & Bach
Barbecue Bros: Jun 2014 + Aug 2014 + Jun 2015
Chapel Hill Magazine
Charlotte Agenda: Jul 2015 + Sep 2016 + Jul 2017
Charlotte Business Journal
CharlotteFive: Feb 2016 + Dec 2016 + Oct 2017
Charlotte Magazine: May 2014 + May 2016
Charlotte Observer: Mar 2014 + Aug 2014 + Jun 2015 + Oct 2015 + Jul 2017
Charlotte's Got a Lot
Garden & Gun's Daily Shot
Greensboro News & Record
Feast + West
Lexington Dispatch: Mar 2014 + Aug 2014
The Local Palate
I'm Fixin' To
New Bern Sun Journal
North State Journal: Feb 2016 + Dec 2014
Off the Eaten Path: Nov 2015 + Dec 2016
O. Henry Magazine
Raleigh News & Observer: Aug 2014 + Dec 2015
Salisbury Post: Aug 2014 + Dec 2015 + Sep 2016
South Carolina Now
Southern Living's The Daily South
The Story Exchange
Sweet Peach: Sep 2015 + May 2016
The Times News: Sep 2014 + Oct 2015 + Dec 2015
Triad Business Journal
Washington Daily News
CAROLINA FRIED CHICKEN MAP: TARHEEL TRAVELER