You're going to want to bookmark this one. We teamed up with food writer and taco expert José Ralat to bring you his top Austin taco picks.Read More
We asked Minneapolis natives Paul Spring and Sophia Heymans to send us some of their favorite local digs. We're not talking about the most-instagrammable-coffee-shop, we're talking about the people and places that embody the spirit of a city. When we make it up to Minneapolis next, this will be our short list.Read More
Two true statements: I am from Texas. These are the best tamales I have ever had.
A few years back, when Good Golly Tamale was primarily operating out of a bike cart, I remember driving across town to find Matt standing by his bike in a parking lot, dishing out the perfect tamale to anyone who found him. I'd imagine many folks had the same experience chasing down Matt until he opened a storefront in 2015.
When thinking about places that we would proudly send visitors, Good Golly Tamale was at the top of the list. Wanting to know a little more about the place that’s cherished by locals and tourists alike, we reached out to Matt Miller, owner and creative behind Good Golly.
Located in the Historic Old City, the GGT storefront has been open since 2015 with the first Tamales debuting at the Market Square Farmer's Market in 2013. Ever since, these delicious little corn husks filled with goodness have become a staple in the Knoxville food world. Recently expanding the menu, you can now can now choose between beans, greens, rice & curtido (delicious fermented cabbage). Not to mention they have an amazing collection of hot sauces and yummy chocolates for a sweet treat.
Our quick visit with Matt gives you a window into his world, but we think it's best to sample the goods yourself.
Native Maps: Why Tamales? What sets yours apart from the average Tamale?
Matt Miller: The first idea to start a business came from my friend who wanted to start a bicycle burrito cart. The idea naturally evolved to a tamale tricycle for many practical reasons. I felt more excited about the idea of tamales. Plus they are gluten-free, which seems to make a lot of people happy. Also it seemed that a good tamale was harder to come by. Our tamales are different than what most native Knoxvillians think of when they think of tamales. I grew up watching my mom and Granny making tamales with spiced ground beef and sausage in cornmeal and lard. They were tightly wrapped in tamale paper and tied super tight in the middle with twine. Then they were boiled. Our tamales are steamed and wrapped in corn husks. We also use palm shortening and masa harina instead of plain cornmeal. Another difference is that we have so many more flavors like Thai chicken and Calabacitas.
You grew up in Knoxville, what made you want to stick around?
MM: I tried really hard to leave Knoxville more than once and I have to say that felt guided to come back through synchronicity…doors closing, windows opening.
What's your ideal Knoxville Summer day look like?
MM: Last Sunday will probably be my favorite day of the whole summer. I slept in till 10:30, tidied up my house, burned a little sage and cedar wood, and made a French press of coffee. Three friends came over and we prepared some snacks and then drove up to Max Patch. We arrived at 4pm which couldn’t have been a better time. It was perfect weather, perfect company, and perfectly gorgeous Sound of Music kind of landscape. We sat and laid in the grass for three hours like it was a highland beach. On the way home we saw a mother bear and her two cubs. The day ended with a cold beverage and Netflix.
Favorite Knoxville neighborhood?
MM: Now I live in Lincoln Park, but my favorite place that I ever lived in twice was in a co-op house in Fourth & Gill on Gratz St.
Favorite go-to local food spot?
MM: I haven’t gone out to eat in such a long time, but I am always at the food Co-Op and I can tell you that the chocolate chip oat bars is one of the most perfectly balanced sweet treats and the chicken radicchio salad is about the best thing that I have ever had from a plastic clamshell…oh, the almond croissants at Wild Love!
Greatest challenge/setback in running your own small biz?
MM: The greatest challenge is maintaining consistency.
Best life hack?
MM: Moving a cot into the office above the kitchen.
Favorite music/podcast to listen to while working?
MM: My New Year's resolution this year was to listen to William Onyeabor every day for the month of January.
What are you reading right now?
MM: Sadly, I don’t find time to read much besides emails. I did recently listen to The Secret Life Of Trees on Audible.
If Dolly Parton walked into GGT, what would you serve her?
MM: A smile full of teeth and whatever she wants for lunch.
What does the future hold for GGT?
MM: I really don’t know where the future will take GGT. I’m trying to keep up and take it one day at a time. We are steadily growing.
Pro tip: discount for bulk tamales, and check out the freezer section for take-home tamales. Also, their salsa is a staple in our fridge.
Thanks for reading our visit with Matt Miller of Good Golly Tamale. If you'd like to see your favorite local establishment featured on the blog, or if you'd like to collaborate, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
As small business owners, it's easy to keep plowing ahead. By the time we traversed the holidays and took a deep breath, it was time to jump back into the to-do list. By mid-January, 2016 already seemed miles away. But when your day-do-day as a "maker" looks more like a personal assistant checking the inbox, sending invoices, and mailing packages, it's hard to feel like we've accomplished anything substantial at all.
That's why we took the advice of Fizzle Co, neglected the to-do list a bit longer, and took a cold hard look at 2016. The purpose was simple: We want to carve a notch in the doorpost, take a step back and see how we grew. Next year, we'll repeat the process, comparing our notch from the year before. So what stood out in 2016?
In February, Becca and I were both asked to speak about our research and work at the University of Tennessee's yearly TEDx event. Becca's talk about "Soil Science, Soul Science," covered her experience in rural Haiti and the importance of thinking about development work from the ground up (literally). My talk was about the rise of Hipster Entrepreneurs and the Maker Movement.
The Etsy Maker Cities Summit brought together city officials, retailers, and solo entrepreneurs to crowd-source the best ways to make our hometowns more supportive of Makers. Each team walked away with a plan of action, and our plan was to host a Maker Summit in Knoxville. When we got back to Knoxville, we created MakeKnox, along with an handful of other local makers, and we held the summit 4 months later.
The Knoxville Maker City Summit was packed with guest speakers, group sessions, and most importantly, 300 individuals who are passionate about what they do in Knoxville. We were blown away by the enthusiasm and energy in the room. Mayor Rojero christened the first Mayor's Maker Council, which will tackle issues surrounding small businesses and manufacturers in the city.
After running Native Maps out of our home for two years, we were beginning to burst at the seams in our 200 sq ft renovated attic studio. We found a great space close to home in a historic building with other artists. The new studio affords separate spaces for designing, printing, and shipping, and most importantly, it gives us the ability to bring additional help into the studio.
In addition to 5 new cities, this was our first year to add a new product line. After hearing so many of our customers ask for framing recommendations, opening up a frame shop was a no brainer. We worked closely with Smoky Mountain Vintage Lumber to prototype and manufacture our Reclaimed Wood Hangers, and we put together a handful of other framing options, all for $40 and under.
In 2016, we fell short of some goals. For example, we wanted to design a new city every month. Shooting for that goal made us ask some hard questions. How do we set the foundation now for sustainable growth? What kind of space do we need, not only now, but in the future? Where do we invest, and where do we cut back? We may not have had a productive August on paper, but we moved studios, leading to a very productive Fall. The new studio is an added cost, but now we can order supplies by the pallet, saving time and money.
Other goals far exceeded our expectations. When we attended the Etsy Maker Cities Summit, we had no idea that 300 people would show up to our Knoxville Summit 4 months later, eager to connect to fellow solo-preneurs and get inspired about their work. We're really looking forward to what 2017 will offer the Maker community in Knoxville.
After carving our notch in the doorpost this year, we feel both fulfilled and grateful. Knowing that 4000 maps went to new homes means that our small business actually works, but it could also be better, and we'll be switching some things up in 2017. The predominate feeling is gratitude that people find value in our work, and that we get to keep doing it.
Austin is one of our favorite cities to visit. You could show up with no plan at all and still have an amazing time. But we wanted a local's perspective on this layed-back, craft-culture city. We teamed up with Austin local Paul Stadelman to highlight some of his personal favorites.
We all know Summer lasts longer in Texas. I'd never wish that heat on anyone, unless it meant more time in Barton Springs. An oasis to a heat-scorched town, this spring-fed swimming hole welcomes one and all, right in the heart of the city. Their free night swim is the best way to end a hot day. Often called the soul of the city by locals, Barton Springs embodies the communal epicenter of Austin.
MICKLETHWAIT CRAFT MEATS
Let those meat-sweats cool your brow at Micklethwait. Everyone in Austin knows that Franklin's is the gold standard for smoked brisket. The word is out, but the line is long. Locals realize that an equally high standard exists for most BBQ joints in Austin. Functioning out of a trailer since 2012, Micklethwait is top-tier texas bbq without the four hour line.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
UT is one of the highest ranked research institutions in the country. While it's often overlooked by locals, it offers a handful of top notch spaces to explore: