Joe’s Real BBQ started as an idea born in 1995. At that time, Joe Johnston and Tim Peelen were finishing up their employment contracts with The Coffee Plantation, a local chain of coffeehouses they had founded some seven years earlier and sold in 1993. During this period, they helped the new company roll out almost twenty new stores, some of which were in Texas. Joe was in charge of building the new stores and so he visited Texas quite often. Being a food-lover, he sought out some local specialties and barbecue was high on the list.