Travis Heim has had a passion for cooking barbecue since a young age, something that the Fort Worth native’s grandfather inspired him to do.
That passion has now led he and his wife of five years, Emma, to open up one of Fort Worth’s newest and most popular barbecue restaurants: Heim Barbecue and Catering.
Located on the 1100 block of West Magnolia Avenue, the couple opened up their restaurant’s doors on Aug. 6, and the reception has been remarkable even just under two months in.
The lunch rush regularly sees out-the-door lines, and it’s not uncommon to see the restaurant sell out of food either.
“We’re here every day,” Emma said. It’s exhausting but we love it. It’s incredible to see it come to life now.”
While the success out of the gate may seem extraordinary, it was no short process for the couple to get where they are today as owners of a thriving eatery.
The journey for the two began shortly after they were married, when Travis wanted to take his love for barbecue to the next level.
“I began to get more into the scientific side of barbecue – tweaking stuff and always trying to make things better. That’s when things really took off,” Heim said.
The couple began to host potluck barbecue diners, dubbed “T and E’s Meat Club,” with the intent of serving their homemade barbecue while simultaneously providing an entertaining atmosphere for others.
“We didn’t make money off it. It was just a chance to practice our recipes,” Travis said.
After nearly four years of potluck dinners, the the couple decided it was time to pursue a barbecue business. In February 2015, Travis and Emma opened a food truck. Heim Barbecue and Catering was born.
“We were in the truck for about a year. Then our lease expired and we decided to put all of our efforts into opening a restaurant.”
After a brief hiatus during the transitioning period, Travis and Emma’s dream was realized just 18 months after the food truck was launched.
And level of popularity within the first month and a half has been unbelievable.
“We’ve gotten a lot of tourists. We’ve literally had people come in with their luggage and say they saw us on Yelp and wanted to come here first for barbecue,” Emma said.
And interestingly enough, sporting events have even played a large role Heim’s success.
“Now that it’s football season, it’s helped us get a lot of people,” Travis said. “We had folks come in from Los Angeles who were here for the USC vs. Alabama game. We had people from Arkansas who were here when they played TCU. We even have someone from the Texas Rangers coming in to pick up food for the team.”
If the name Heim rings a bell for baseball fans, that’s because it should. Though closed at the time for the move, Heim made national headlines in late May for offering Rangers’ second baseman Rougned Odor free food for life after punching Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista during an on-field altercation between the clubs. The brawl stemmed back to the 2015 MLB Postseason in which tempers flared between Toronto and Texas during game five of the ALDS.
“People come in and talk about it,” Travis said. “The club even told us that Odor wants to try it. We sent him a Heim Barbecue hat that he signed and it was neat. We’re big fans.”
Whether it be Rangers fandom, brisket, or the customer-favorite burnt bacon ends that drives people into the restaurant, the Heims are grateful for what their business has become.
“We got really lucky and it all sort of just fell together,” Travis said. “It’s pretty neat.”