Paper Trails Podcast

The Paper Trails Podcast is an in depth look at the restaurant industry in our service area. From Greensboro to Fort Mill, and everything in between, we interview the movers and shakers, the chefs, the owners, and the people who make eating out fun.

Learn how your favorite restaurant got started or what it takes to be a successful restaurant owner. If you love to eat, you'll love the Paper Trails Podcast.



In the 10th episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with Michael Pruitt. Listen as Mike speaks on his early days playing collegiate baseball and moving to Monroe, NC, the success principles baseball taught him, and the life lessons he’s learned from business ownership.

In the 9th episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with Jasmine Macon, the owner of Beyond Amazing Donuts. Listen as Jasmine talks about how her grandmother introduced her to cooking, what pushed her more towards breads and cakes over meats, and her love of donuts and what made her start Beyond Amazing Donuts.

In the 8th episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with Carlos Abrahams, the owner of Crav’n Caribbean. Listen as Carlos talks about how his mother influenced his passion for food, his transition from the car business to the food industry, and what Crav’n Caribbean is all about.

In the 7th episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with James Yoder, the owner of Not Just Coffee. Listen as James speaks about his upbringing in Japan, moving to North Carolina, his beginnings in business ownership, and what it means to stay in your strengths.

In the sixth episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with the Executive Chef of Community Matters Cafe Chayil Johnson .Listen as Chayil speaks about his culinary influence from growing up in New Orleans and how Community Matters Cafe is impacting Charlotte.

In the fifth episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with the owners of Tokyo Express and Yummi Banh Mi, Scott and Julie Tang. Listen as Scott and Julie take us through their beginnings in Salisbury, running a family-owned restaurant, and entrepreneurship.

In the fourth episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with executive chef RJ Corley. Listen as RJ takes us through his beginnings in the restaurant industry in western Maryland and what we can expect from one of Charlotte's newest Mexican cuisines, Puerta.

In the third episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with Darius Amidi, Director of Operations/Co-owner of Improper Pig, and his son Cameron Amidi. Listen as Darius and Cameron take us through their journey and what led them into the restaurant industry, as well as the characteristics of running a successful restaurant.

In the second episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with owner of Que Hospitality Manny Flores. Listen as Manny takes takes us through his journey to U.S. and what inspired him to get into the restaurant industry, the passion and inspiration for his two restaurants Que Onda and Que Fresa, and what the future holds for Que Hospitality.

In the first episode of Season 3 of the Paper Trails podcast, Nick sits down with the executive chef, Mike Bobb, of the Ballantyne Hotel. Listen as Mike takes us through how his passion for cooking developed, his journey through culinary school at Johnson and Wales, to becoming the executive chef at the Ballantyne Hotel.


After a long career at Proctor & Gamble, Bill Bigham decided he wanted to pursue a new title: Chef.  

"I realized that I could change somebody's day because I'm the first person they're speaking to, most likely." Magnolia Coffee Co Production Manager, Ben Alleman, got into the coffee scene because he wanted a change from the restaurant industry. He quickly fell in love with what he calls the 'counter-culture.'

"I've never met a cheese I didn't like." Meet the Babe behind Babe & Butcher, Charlotte N.C.'s iconic charcuterie board company, Lindsay Anvik.

Through the ebbs and flows of financial crises, pandemics, and life's hardships, Manolo's Latin Bakery owner, Manolo Betancur has continued to persist and focus on people first to find business success.

Stomp, Chomp & Roll Restaurant Group owner, Will Bigham, describes himself as 'always learning,' which is probably why he's seen success operating a wide variety of restaurants ranging from a dessert business to fast-casual Asian cuisine, and now the popular Charlotte, NC brands Improper Pig, Flying Biscuit, and Pizza Peel.

Vaulted Oak Brewing took up shop in what was once a BB&T bank and kept a lot of the elements, including the pneumatic tubes formerly used by drive-up customers.

After finding creative ways to keep the Crunkleton afloat during the pandemic, Chef Greg Balch and Ryan Hart launched a side-hustle, pop-up cheesesteak business. It quickly took off and they’re opening a brick and mortar soon.

Meet two of the minds that make both the Crunkleton Charlotte and Cheat’s Cheesesteaks on the must-list of Charlotte, N.C.’s culinary scene: Executive Chef Greg Balch and Bar Manager Ryan Hart.

We may be a paper company, but this crew is makin' that paper! We get a fascinating view inside the workings of CT Commercial Paper in Oakboro, NC with Kat Palm & Mollie Guffy.

After a journey through all sides of the restaurant industry, bbq fan Lewis Donald launched his shop, Sweet Lew's, because he felt Charlotte needed a true barbecue shop.

Chef Chris Coleman has won Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, and now he's it's It-Guy in the Charlotte, NC restaurant scene with his popular The Goodyear House restaurant in the NoDa neighborhood and now Old Town Kitchen & Cocktails in Rock Hill, SC.

We're channeling Bill Nye vibes on this episode, learning SO MUCH from the inspiring owners of Cloister Honey. In Part 2, Nick sits down with founders Joanne de la Rionda and Randall York who share the scientific process behind their crystalized honey blends.

Nick suits up and learns beekeeping with the owner of Cloister Honey. Learn about the lifespan of bees, how the hives work and all about her majesty, the Queen.

LatinX foodie phenom, Javier Morales, turned the spotlight on himself and everyone's watching. "QC Javi" as he's known in the Charlotte, NC area from his popular @qc_javi Instagram account, covers the most mouthwatering, authentic Latin food around the Queen City and beyond.

You're gonna be hungry by the end of this episode. We talk with Rob Clement and Hannah Woociker about the amazing collab that became Meshugganah, Modern Jewish Cuisine.

The BUNSTOPPABLE Jerrod Adkins work for 6 years... YES 6 YEARS... to perfect his low-carb buns. He finally found the perfect, yet SUPER SECRET recipe and UnbelievaBuns was born.

Upscale church potluck is the vibe Jamie Brown & Jeff Tonidandel are going for with their newest Charlotte, NC restaurant, Supperland, in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood.

The inspiring duo behind Charlotte's favorite Chicken & Seafood spot, Lulu's Maryland Style Chicken & Seafood, Jay & Miketa Davis, tell us about teamwork making the dream work, Jay's military & bounty hunting history, how their family inspired them, and future plans.

While working in the restaurant supply industry, Jason Thomas noticed restaurants order a LOT of oil...and decided to slide on into the industry. Now, Healthy Brand Oil is recognized as an industry leader in premium oils.

Y'all know we southerners like our BBQ...but we also like jumpin' on that Meatless Monday trend. Lee Cooper and Zack Werner's Barvecue is slaying the vegan barbecue game with their plant-based BBQ phenom, "BVQ."

Casey Ostwinch began landscaping at age 16 and immediately discovered one important thing: He sure preferred the fresh air to work indoors. Fast forward and he and his wife, Tori, are now living off their land, Honey Tree Farm, and selling produce to local restaurants and markets.


Pinky’s Westside Grill was serving up a mean meal long before Guy Fieri and the Food Network visited. We’re chatting with owner, Greg Auten, whose long history in the restaurant scene has taken him from a hot dog cart to working with another Charlotte, NC iconic diner, the Penguin.

They’re the minds behind Charlotte, N.C.’s most popular Instagram food feeds. Meet @eatdrinkclt’s Allie Papajohn, one-half of @scallionpancake’s Jason Ackerman, and @thesweetseoul’s Jessica Hodnett.

We’ve ventured outside the restaurant industry to sit down with Brad Lawson & Fernando Escaffi, owners of Primeline Capital. Thinking about starting a new business? Well, these guys just started their own mortgage company 2 years ago, and now have over 40 employees.

Chef Sam Diminich has beaten Bobby Flay, and now he’s found a way to thrive AND help others amidst the massive strain COVID has placed on the restaurant industry. His story of resilience in creating Your Farms Your Table, his local meal delivery service that is championing our regional farmers.

“If you’re not on Instagram, I don’t trust you.” Nikki Miller-Ka , aka ‘Nik Snacks,’ came to speak the truth! We travel to the Triad to dive into the Winston-Salem, NC area food scene with the leading lady of food blogging in their region.

Chef Mark Allison has traveled the world teaching his culinary skills. He was the Dean of Students at Johnson & Wales and currently works at Cabarrus Health Alliance as their Executive Chef. Learn more about his culinary travels on this episode of Paper Trails.

Their açaí bowls are hella tasty, good for you, and ultra instagrammable. We're joined by Rico's Açaí owners Matthew & John Williams to talk about the method behind the fruity madness.

This is Wynee’s World and we're lucky to get the chance to grub with her. It's our most filling podcast yet... and we're trying something a little different: a #mukbang at our client, Empire Pizza!

Chef Daniel Wheeler has a knack for creating dishes that are works of art with an edge. His signature style incorporates farm-to-table elements, focusing on sustainability and local food systems.

"We're going really out of the way as far as the products that we want to give to people." Michael Pappas sources the highest quality ingredients to create the historically inspired breads of The Baker in Waxhaw, NC.

Jess Bentley's foodie empire, Slice of Jess, spawned from requests from friends to send them recipes.  What started as a simple website now boasts partnerships with some of the food industry's biggest brands.

Food influencers are here to stay. We chat with two of Charlotte's most follow-worthy local foodies, Dani Canada @thecharlitty & Kenty Chung @kenty_eats. They share their insight into the influencer side of the food biz.

He started out in engineering with dreams of becoming a pilot, but now Osman Qasim owns 65 Domino's locations. How he caught such a large slice of the pizza pie in the Carolinas.

Dressler's is the go-to spot for celebratory dinners in Charlotte, NC and a lot of that has to do with the owner, Jon Dressler's, employee-focused management style. 

DePalo Foods is a family-owned manufacturer of some of your favorites: calzones, strombolis, dough... ah, comfort food. You see their products in your local grocery store but have you thought about what it takes for each item to get there? Owner, Rico, and his sons Joseph and Philip to talk about continuing the family legacy.

Want to start a business? “Clear your schedule,” says Po Boy's Low Country Seafood owner, John Demestihas.

Inspired by his family, Tommy Ngo infuses his appreciation of nutrition and creativity to meet modern dietary needs at Katana Kitchen.

“People are inherently good, and we’ve seen that.” Meet Chris Clouden, Executive Director of 7th Street Public Market in uptown Charlotte, NC.

The secret ingredient for restaurant success? Consistency. On an all new Paper Trails Podcast, Nick sits down with Bill Glass & Jeff Lorey of B&A Food Brokers.

"Our whole mentality is to be hands-on owners and make sure our presence is felt." Dimitri Maheras and his business partners own the popular Caswell Station and Graham Street Pub in Charlotte, NC.

Bisonte Pizza owners, brothers Jim & Steve Dapolito brought the taste of Buffalo, NY to the south after eating their way through the pizza of our region.

Sisters Jodi Wright & Heather Scovel took a gamble on an idea in the middle of the 2009 recession and the rewards have been sweet. Meet the duo behind Savory Moments Catering Company.

Three Bulls Steakhouse owner Sammy Gianopoulos has had a long success as a restauranteur in the Triad region of N.C. and shares why being a present owner is so important to a restaurant's success.

“Being able to value employees and have respect, sit down and talk to them one on one and say I understand your struggles and what can we do to be better. That type of servant leadership today is critically important." Meet David Lucarelli, operating manager of Sabor Latin Street Grill.

Longtime APS employee, Cooper Lor, talks about watching the company grown from a fledgling business where everyone wore all hats to a fully staffed warehouse.

It started as an idea.. and they didn't know the first thing about paper products. With a small loan for inventory and a truck, these two paper pioneers set out to pave their own trail to success.

Nick sits down with Frank Kaltsounis, the owner of Big View Diner, Ilios Noches, and Ilios Crafted Greek.

Mikey Wetzel shares the journey that transformed him into a restauranteur, launching Go Burrito Salisbury with more locations on the way, and what he’s learned along the ride.

APS founder Nick Kalogermitros shares some of the best lessons he's learned from starting a business.

Welcome to Paper Trails! We're taking you on the journey of a regional paper product supplier (listen... we have way more products than Dunder Mifflin) sharing the tales of their trails through starting a business and being an integral part of a booming North Carolina restaurant industry.


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