Remi J’s came to Butler County before food trucks were cool

When the real estate market crashed 10 years ago, real estate professional Remi Jones knew he needed to make a job change in order to support his family.

“That’s how Remi J’s was born,” says the proud owner with a smile.

While the recession crushed his real estate business in 2008, Jones says he was searching for alternative ways to make a living and decided to open a food truck.

“My wife wasn’t too happy because food trucks weren’t popular yet,” Jones says with a laugh. “I was always watching cooking shows and saw food trucks on them. They were booming in California back then, but they hadn’t come here yet.”

Fast forward 10 years, Remi J’s Barbeque is among the oldest in the local food truck scene. Jones and his family live in Liberty Township and frequent local events and festivals with their signature smoked meat and gourmet sides—all of which is homemade.

“I cook everything. It’s hard to leave your product in the hands of someone else,” Jones explains. “I’m probably one of the very few barbeque trucks that actually has a wood smoker. I don’t use charcoal or a lighter fluid, we use a real wood smoker. And when people start seeing ribs come off that smoker, they know they’re tender and ready to indulge.”

The master chef says his gamble to embark on an entirely new career path has paid off, but it wasn’t without a stressful beginning. His wife was pregnant with their first daughter when they opened the food truck in April 2009, which was originally in an RV.

“It was just plain scary,” Jones says of the new beginning.

Though the pair struggled in the beginning, their business took off as food trucks grew in popularity. Today, their two daughters are part of the family business, and soon Jones plans to market his specialty barbeque sauce to local grocers. Though his work smoking meats and creating sauces is a far cry from his time in the real estate profession, Jones says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I wanted to build a business in the community I was living in,” Jones says of his Liberty Township-based truck. “I love being able to get close to my customers. I know their aunts, their uncles, their kids. And people love food trucks. You see this truck driving by, it’s all dressed up and you smell real food coming from it. Food trucks really appeal to people senses.”