Julius “Pappy” Heins was a self-made businessman and restaurant pioneer who made a name for himself here in El Paso.
Heins’ Restaurants was one of El Paso iconic restaurants, but that’s not how Heins got his start.
At age 15, Heins left his hometown in Heidelberg, German to join the merchant marines. However, Heins and some of his crew mates later fled to the United States, escaping from a German ship – called a “Hell Ship” – and known for its horrible conditions.
After arriving, Heins worked for a sawmill, but then found himself in the hotel business, working for the Waldorf Astoria in New York. He also opened the Geneva Hotel in Mexico City and the Imperial Hotel during the Mexico revolution.
Later, he came to El Paso and worked for the Hilton, but decided to go into business on his own.
He founded Heins Food Company on El Paso Street in the late 1930s and ran a bar called ‘The Boiler.’ In 1952, he opened the Heins Drive Inn Cafe & Bar on 6400 Montana and in 1958, took over Caballero Restaurant on 6430 Montana in 1958 at age 82.
In addition to those two locations, Heins also owned the Colonial restaurant on 8601 dyer street in the 1960s and also ran a restaurant in Dallas.
Heins served as president of the El Paso Restaurant Association and was named “Restaurateur of the Year” by the Texas State Restaurant Association.
Heins died in 1972.