Patio Buzz YEG maps outdoor eating and drinking destinations
On a hot summer day, there are few things better than an ice-cold drink on a local patio. George Shantz wants to make it easier for you to find a place to sit back and sip.
The Electrician grad (class of '18) released his first mobile app, Patio Buzz YEG, in 2017.
“It’s a map. You can see all the patios in your area or patios throughout the city,” says Shantz. It also includes patios in Sherwood Park and St. Albert. “There’s a description of the patio, pictures and their website.”
To gather info for the free app, which is now available for iPhone and Android users, Shantz has visited most of the spots himself. He say it’s the best kind of research.
Inspired by relaxation
The idea came to him after a relaxing vacation in B.C. “We spent the whole trip on patios,” Shantz says. “When we came back to Edmonton, there was nothing to help us find [local] patios.”
He started his website, PatioBuzz, last August before starting work on the app. Shantz taught himself to build and update the app by watching instructional videos on YouTube.
For a while, he thought the project might fail – but not because he didn’t have the skills to pull it off.
“It was a process trying to get it submitted [to Apple and Google],” he says. “There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through.”
For example, there were concerns about copyright infringement with the photos in the app. Shantz had to prove that he had snapped most of them himself and had permission for those submitted to him.
He was on his way home from NAIT one afternoon in early May when he received confirmation from Apple that it would be available in the App Store within 24 hours.
“I started crying. There was so much time put into this and it paid off.” The app became available for Android users a few days later.
His plan is to become a full-time electrician, but Shantz says this side project also brings him a lot of joy. He’s had companies reach out with hopes of advertising on the app, but he isn’t considering that at the moment. For now, he plans to keep it simple and just visit as many different patios as he can.
More patios to come
By visiting patios all over the city, Shantz has stumbled across some overlooked gems. He says people don’t realize they’re missing out on some great spots, but he hopes the app will help change that.
“It’ll have hidden patios you’ve never heard of. There will be a whole section for golf course patios. There are so many that are amazing that no one goes to because they think they have to golf there.”
While he loves visiting each patio himself, he encourages others to let him know about their favourites through the app or website.
“There are some we don’t know about yet,” he says.
Shantz will continue to update the app as the weather warms and says it will also feature spots in Calgary next summer.