Our Story


Our story begins nearly thirty years ago when we first realized that eating a plant-based diet was a choice we could make. Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle became not only a new journey, but a passion woven deeply into the fabric of our lives. At that time, at least in the south, such offerings on restaurant menus and grocer’s aisles were minimal at best.

Fast forward to 2016… fate kindly smiled on us when we met Andy Werner, a vibrant and dedicated Special Education teacher hired to help with our eldest daughter. Upon introducing her to our three pet pigs, we discovered a rare vegetarian commonality that soon made way for a unique bond.

A seed had been planted but fate had even more in mind for 2017.

Having recently sold a successful business, Lee was beginning to ponder what the next stage of life would bring. Traveling and seeking out unique vegetarian fare had become a favorite pastime of the Cooper family. Living in the heart of the Carolinas, finding a plant-based barbecue sandwich was at the top of our list. We loved this tasty delicacy and although it could be found, it was a rare find indeed. This search was to become the spark and fuel that would drive Lee’s next venture. Could we possibly create a plant-based modern take on this traditional southern food and, therefore, more opportunity for vegetarians to enjoy this traditional southern ritual? Lee had the business prowess to make this happen. But there was a missing link.

Enter Zack Werner, a millennial with a special skill set. As Lee pondered this new endeavor, we were gradually learning more about Andy’s husband. He too, we discovered, was vegetarian. But even more astonishing… Zack had a degree in food science; was a recent culinary school graduate; and was itching to fulfill his dream of impacting the food industry.

Coincidence? We think not. Zack would provide the missing link and this unlikely duo wasted no time in getting started.

In October of 2017, Barvecue ® was born!

Now we are off on the journey to connect with people and share the Barvecue brand. We aim to bring the best tasting barbecue to vegetarians, omnivores, and adventurous carnivores around the globe… wherever they may be.

We hope you will become a part of our Barvecue family!

jeni cooper