S2E11 | The Smokin’ Success Story of BBQ Master Lewis “Sweet Lew” Donald: Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 11

EPISODE GUEST: Lewis “Sweet Lew” Donald

After a wide and varied journey through all sides of the restaurant industry, bbq fan Lewis Donald launched his shop, Sweet Lew’s, in the Belmont neighborhood of Charlotte, NC because he felt Charlotte needed a true barbecue shop and “I felt like that was my best avenue to be me, have fun and I could see myself doing it for the rest of my life.”

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Originally from Cleveland, Lew’s moved all over – Hawaii, Tennessee, Georgia, West Virginia, and L.A. where he learned Spanish.  At the “Swanky” Greenbrier Culinary Apprenticeship Program, he had an invaluable deep dive into the ingredients, prep and everything that goes into cooking. The posh Greenbrier may not seem like a BBQ pit haven, but it was where Lew grew to love the style of cooking. Pitmaster, Ken Hess, would wheel in his trailer smoker and have the apprentices help with barbecue competitions. Lew continued to pepper in barbecue throughout his career and developed a lasting fondness for it. So in 2018, he set forth opening Sweet Lew’s BBQ. 

What he learned from the opening: “I think every restauranteur in Charlotte goes through the same thing — everything new in Charlotte is great.” The first 90 days are full of free press and booming sales. “Then there comes that time in Charlotte you constantly have to reinvent yourself.” Lew stays in his lane…want boiled peanuts, Brunswick stew and brisket? He’s your guy. But he’s not changing up the menu and adding items for publicity. 

He focuses on simplicity, inspired by the different regional BBQ styles. And while he does have house-made sauces, he doesn’t sauce his meat. He wants to be a master of the BBQ biz, not a jack of all trades. ‘We want to be here for generations,” Lew says, hopefully, he’ll feed families for years to come. Fun Sauce Facts: The mustard-based sauce is an SC thing because of German settlers Big Bob Gibson is credited as the originator of white sauce in Alabama NC is regionally divided – some areas focusing on vinegar-based sauces, others tomato-based Last thoughts: Are you thinking about starting a business?  Lew’s advice: “Talk to somebody before you do it – talk to many people. Do your homework, do your research, and really think about what you’re getting yourself into. It’s hard to translate what you’re doing at home or what you’ve done for your family or friends — just because you make the best pie at thanksgiving doesn’t mean it’s going to become a business.” 

“Just because you make the best pie at thanksgiving doesn’t mean it’s going to become a business.”

– Lewis Donald, Owner Sweet Lew’s BBQ

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:38-05:00July 27th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E10 | Chef Chris Coleman of The Goodyear House – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 10

EPISODE GUEST: Chef Chris Coleman

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.

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Nick’s top takeaways from his time with Chris:

1) Before jumping into business, get to know your partners over a period of time to ensure success & good partnership.

2) Know your strengths and how to use them well for your company. The partners at Goodyear House trust each other and their talents.

3) Per Chris – go to local culinary school to be able to save and to also find the local restaurant that can help you hone your skills.

New Paper Trails Podcast vids drop Tuesdays. Subscribe now and don’t miss a bite!

CORN CURLS // fried corn riblets, togarashi, cotija, kewpie mayo
Nick Kalogeromitros & Chef Chris Coleman at The Goodyear House
FANCY GRITS // jimmy red grits, 75 degree egg, chili crisp, pickled shallot, scallion, benne seeds
The Goodyear House patio in Charlotte, NC.
Nick Kalogeromitros & Chef Chris Coleman at The Goodyear House
ALL TEA, NO SHADE // bourbon, lemon, mint, pure intentions iced tea, peach bitters

“Make sure people follow your vision and work with people that have your same vision.  Be open to learning and trying new things.”

– Chef Chris Coleman, The Goodyear House

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:38-05:00July 19th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E9.2 | Cloister Honey – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE 9.2

CLOISTER HONEY

Paper Trails Podcast is channeling Bill Nye vibes on this episode — we learned SO MUCH from the inspiring owners of Cloister Honey in Charlotte, NC.  First, Nick suited up and learned beekeeping (go back and check out part 1 if you haven’t!) and on part 2, Nick sits down with founders Joanne de la Rionda and Randall York who share the scientific process behind their crystalized honey blends.  Hear how they went from hobby beekeepers who shared honey with friends, to creating their cinnamon honey to compete with teachers/part-time bee keepers and sell at farmers markets.

BEE a dear and subscribe!

 

“Crystalized honey is not rocket science but it’s a pain.  We do the hard stuff.  It’s not as easy to make cinnamon, ghost pepper, lavender, pumpkin spice at high quality.”

– Randall York, Cloister Honey

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:39-05:00June 29th, 2021|Paper Trails, PodCasts, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E9.1 | Beekeeping with Cloister Honey – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 9.1

EPISODE GUEST: Cloister Honey…and their Bees

Nick suited up and got a lesson in beekeeping from Charlotte, NC’s own Cloister Honey.  (there were no bees with Jerry Seinfeld’s voice, unfortunately.)  It’s an entirely fascinating process learning about the the work of the queen, the hive, what makes a have successful. 

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“Nature is brutally efficient.”  Cloister Honey’s Randall York shares on the unforgiving behavior of how the hive crowns a new queen.

A few fun facts Nick shared from the hives: 

1) You can move a hive 2 feet or 2 miles… nothing in between because the bees won’t find their hive 

2) Bees only live for a few weeks 

3) The bottom 2 boxes of hive are never touched bc that’s the honey for the bees to eat and live off of. The ones above that are the ones that bee keepers take to eat or sell. 

Beekeeping is fascinating and we’re so excited to share a bit about what goes into their honey with you. 

“In the hive, about 97% of all the bees in the hive are female.  They do all the work.  The males do nothing – all they do is they hope to mate.”

– Randall York, Cloister Honey

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:39-05:00June 22nd, 2021|Paper Trails, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E8.1 | Injecting Authenticity into a Food Feed: LatinX Foodie Javier Morales – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 8.1

EPISODE GUEST: Javier Morales

LatinX foodie phenom, Javier Morales, turned the spotlight on himself and everyone’s watching.

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“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. Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Javi has always stuck with his roots when it comes to his content creation work. From his early days capturing the Latin music scene, to transitioning his photo skills to the food scene.

Javi made the decision to step in front of the camera, invest in equipment and developing his food-centric content. He jumped out of his comfort zone, attended an influencer event and felt a pivotal change while networking with other foodies. His content production style and platforms have developed from years of trial and error and he suggests trying everything to find what resonates with you. “See which one will make you feel happiest… it’s a lot easier to be myself than to try to come up with other stuff that isn’t related to me,” says Javi.

Catch Part 2 where Javi introduces us to traditional dishes from Oaxaca, México.

Paper Trails Podcast drops Tuesdays — Subscribe now!

“It’s a lot easier to be myself than to try to come up with other stuff that isn’t related to me.”

– Javier Morales, @qc_javi

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:39-05:00May 25th, 2021|Paper Trails, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E6 | Ask Jerrod about his Buns. Low-Carb UnbelievaBuns – Paper Trails Podcast

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 6

EPISODE GUEST: UnbelievaBuns

The BUNSTOPPABLE Jerrod Adkins work for 6 years… YES 6. Friggin. YEARS… to perfect his low-carb buns.

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Always a fitness fan, Charlotte, NC-based Adkin’s love of lean burgers was missing one thing… the perfect, high protein, low-carb bun. So what does an entrepreneurial-minded guy do? Create his damn own. That’s right. While working a full-time job, Adkins spent 6 years testing recipes in his own kitchen until he finally found the perfect, yet SUPER SECRET (we tried) formula. Then he brought his UnbelievaBun recipe to a kitchen and started selling to consumers. Adkins had to develop his story and show how his buns truly were legit. “I got tired of people thinking it was going to taste like cardboard,” so he went to some high-end chefs to prove his point and showed off his buns. UnbelievaBuns is now working on distribution – a nine-year project is coming to fruition. He paved his own path. He made the connections. He chased the dream. How did Adkins maintain the determination? “I realized I was different from the beginning,” Adkins laughed. “But you can develop that passion.” Grand plans? End world hunger. Then start a healthy burger restaurant. Adkins believes in giving back, and the motto “To much is given, much is required.” So seriously, ask Jerrod about his Buns.

“I realized I was different from the beginning…”

– Jerrod Adkins, UnbelievaBuns

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:40-05:00May 10th, 2021|Paper Trails, Season 2|0 Comments

S2E1 | Honey Tree Farms Casey Ostwinch

SEASON 2: EPISODE NUMBER: 1

EPISODE GUEST: Casey Ostwinch

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.

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Casey’s love of the outdoors carried on into college where he studied horticulture and landscape. It wasn’t long after moving to North Carolina to become an arborist for Barlett Tree Experts that Casey started taking the job home. 

He and his wife, Tori, began homesteading and growing their own food in 2016, documenting it all on Instagram. And on Instagram is where their farm life took off. Someone discovered their feed and approached them the Ostwinches to turn their land into a farm. 

Casey and Tori sold everything, packed up their belongings, and moved to a camper on the property. Tori continued her work at a corporate job while Casey tended to the farm. But they soon realized that they could manage the farm together. 

And what began as a quest for good health now became a business idea. Trips to farmer’s markets and restaurants in the area had sparked an idea in the Ostwinches — they could do this too. 

Casey turned to some gardening books suggested by friends that taught him about turning the farm into a business and ‘market gardening.” They’ve found success producing fruits and vegetables to sell. 

And they’ve also found success online. On their popular YouTube channel, Honey Tree Farm, Casey and Tori post weekly videos showing the progress of their work and give tips for those who want to begin gardening. Because unpredictable weather can make farming and gardening tricky, the Ostwinches teach their viewers to be prepared for the unexpected and help answer questions for struggling gardeners. 

Casey’s top takeaways as a business owner for finding success: 

1) Communication Matters 

2) Develop a relationship with your customers 

3) Be proactive 

4) have a strong work ethic 

What’s next for Honey Tree Farm? Right now they have plans for the future that involves more than only selling vegetables at markets, which they’re super excited about but can’t say just yet!

“There is no finish line.  Nobody ‘wins’ a business.  There is no finish line.” 

– Casey Ostwinch, Honey Tree Farm

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By |2022-03-23T13:32:41-05:00April 6th, 2021|Paper Trails, Season 2|0 Comments

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