Rising Star Restaurateur Emma Heim of Heim Barbecue - Biography

Fort Worth, TX

November 2021

Travis Heim cooked his first brisket at age 12 using his granddad’s old offset Oklahoma Joe. Travis wasn’t happy with the result but his mom still believes that it was the best brisket he’s ever made. Travis met his future wife and business partner, Emma, in junior high, and as they grew up, they continued to barbecue using a smoker that Travis’s uncle welded by hand. While Travis cooked at a Mexican restaurant and Emma worked in the oil and gas industry, they daydreamed about opening their own barbecue spot. On Saturday nights, Travis and Emma threw barbecue parties for friends and family—appropriately named the T & E MEATclub. Their four-course menus (always starting with their signature bacon burnt ends) became so popular that they had to host MEATclub at a friend’s restaurant and eventually sell tickets. 

When Travis was laid off from his job in 2014, he and Emma pooled together their savings to lease out a food truck parked behind a run-down bar, buy a trailer and as much meat as they could afford, and launch Heim Barbecue. Local support for Heim skyrocketed in their first year, allowing them to open their first brick-and-mortar location in 2016 in Fort Worth. Now the Heims run three locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, serving classic Texas-style barbecue with some creative riffs like a double smash burger smothered in bacon burnt end jam and crispy loaded potato skins. Although they are ever-growing, Emma and Travis’s dedication to quality service and community continues to echo their humble beginnings.