Food & Drink

Charlotte pair producing a map on North Carolina barbecue

Amanda Aileen Fisher and Paul Bright of Charlotte hope a map is pointing to their future. And it’s in barbecue.

In a campaign on the website, they have raised more than $10,000 from more than 300 supporters to create an ambitious map detailing every barbecue restaurant in North Carolina.

Yes, that is a lot of barbecue restaurants.

“We’re up to 300 places now,” Fisher said last week, a few minutes after they hit their Kickstarter goal. When the campaign ended at 11:59 p.m. last Thursday, they had gotten 336 pledges totaling $10,418.

The barbecue map, due out in June, isn’t a review of restaurants and will not attempt to weigh in on old-school vs. new-style barbecue restaurants. The map will use symbols to let you know the style of barbecue (whole hog vs. parts), the style of sauce (Lexington vs. Eastern) and whether the meat is cooked on wood or by another method.

Designed to fold up and take in a car or be framed as art, Fisher hopes people will use it to explore the state. The maps will sell for less than $10 and she hopes they’ll be sold at barbecue restaurants and gift shops. “We love the idea of doing barbecue trips,” Fisher says. “We want to inspire people.”

A grant writer for a nonprofit foundation, Fisher, 31, grew up in Mount Pleasant, north of Charlotte, where she says the main place to eat when she was a kid was a local barbecue restaurant.

“I’ve grown up on barbecue,” she says. “I’ve always been drawn to small-town culture. Barbecue epitomizes that. It’s the gathering place for a town.”

Why a map instead of a book? She says they’re easier to update than books and more portable to carry in your car.

“We use maps a lot when we travel and hike, so we’ve seen what’s out there and what’s missing.”

She and Bright, who works as a mapping specialist in the city’s stormwater department, have started a printing company, EDIA – for “Every Day Is an Adventure” – and hope to continue producing maps, including barbecue in other states and “off-the-beaten-path stuff,” like adventures in Charlotte.

In the meantime, the couple plans to keep traveling and eating barbecue. They still make regular trips to find special-occasion barbecue at church and fire department events. Some day, Fisher says, they may get to all 300 places themselves.

“At home, we’re pretty close to vegetarian,” she says. “We just pig out on barbecue.”