Heim Barbecue & Catering’s brick-and-mortar location (1109 W Magnolia Av, 817-882-6970) has been open for what, six months or so? You’d think that I would’ve gotten around to visiting by now, but it’s not for lack of trying. Waiting in line is fine when you don’t have anything to do later, but it’s hard to really contemplate what you’re eating when you’ve been standing in a queue for longer than it takes to drive back to work.
While a line of such improbable length is an exaggeration, the real lines for Heim’s prime times (lunch and dinner) can still stretch longer than your lunch break allows –– and this is even six months after it’s “HOT! NEW! RESTAURANT!” appeal cooled a little. At least now they don’t run out of meat as quickly. But even this late in the Heim Barbecue news cycle (did you hear they’re opening a new place over on White Settlement Road? Also, isn’t it crazy that road still has that name?), the obvious move was to hit them outside of peak hours. After all, if Heim’s ’cue was as good as everyone said it was, the time of day shouldn’t matter that much, right?
So I thought I’d get there before noon on a weekday. At 11:15 on a recent Monday, I turned onto Henderson Street from West Magnolia Avenue excited about stuffing my face and possibly going back to bed, only to discover the parking lot was already full, and the line was already snaking along the side of the building. I kept driving and ended up at Esperanza’s Mexican Café & Bakery (1601 Park Place Av, 817-923-1961), where I dealt with my disappointment by dumping a basket of chips and a lunch portion of green chicken enchiladas ($7.50) on its head. For the sake of metaphor, disappointment lives in my stomach, apparently, and it is also what happens when anticipation goes bad, like how a Mogwai becomes a Gremlin, except it doesn’t matter what time you feed it.
Anyway, the next time I brought my stomach full of anticipation (and nothing else, because I was ready to go deep with the samplin’) was a Thursday, after 1pm. I found parking, but somehow the line was even longer than before. And even though I probably had enough time to stand in it, I felt like I failed at my goal to find the best off-hours time, so I went to Fuzzy’s Taco Shop (2917 W Berry St, 817-924-7943), where I fed my disappointment pork tacos and borracho beans ($8.99) until it quit complaining.
The following Tuesday, I picked an even later time –– like 2:30ish –– and repeated the exercise. Upon arrival, I discovered an almost completely empty parking lot. I practically bounced out of my car with joy, and it all came crashing to a halt when I reached for the back door’s handle and read the sign that said they’re open Wednesday through Monday. Tuesdays are not good times to eat at Heim Barbecue because Heim Barbecue is closed.
Several weeks passed. I ate a lot of Tex-Mex. I tried a new place for pho. And I also started to think about eating at Heim less and less, only half-listening to the tales of bacon burnt ends and mac ’n cheese the way I’d listen to people telling me about Pikachus after I’d gotten bored of Pokemon Go. “Oh, really? And it was brisket that you ate?” I’d reply, my interest in the subject barely more than a ghost in the tone of my voice. And yet, people would still talk about it, so I had no choice but to consider giving a trip to Heim another go.
I won’t bore you with too many details of the meal I had when I finally ate there, other than that it was on a Sunday around 3pm. What you’ve heard about Heim Barbecue is more or less true. Maybe I’ve had better? I’m not really sure, though a bite of the fatty brisket (two-meat combo $15) and the mac ’n’ cheese together was what I imagine a transcendental experience is like. I remember thinking that my lunch was expensive, but the line was short. All in all, it was well worth the wait.