A fire at Franklin Barbecue has forced the famous joint to temporarily close. In a tweet on Saturday, August 26, the restaurant, which ranks No. 2 on Texas Monthly's list of best barbecue joints in the state, reported that it will be closed for the foreseeable future but that the staff is safe.
According to the Austin Fire Department, the blaze began around 5:30 am August 26, when the wind blew an ember from the fire pit onto the backside of the building. Flames destroyed the smokehouse, while the main building sustained light smoke damage in the dining room.
“Much love to the Austin Fire Department for helping us save the restaurant today,” read an Instagram post that was posted once the fire was contained. With $200,000 structural and $150,000 of content damage, the total damage estimate is $350,000.
Local businesses are already chipping in: new neighboring bar Nickel City is donating $2 from every old fashioned sold at the bar to help pay Franklin’s staff until the restaurant reopens. On Rainey Street, Javelina Bar will donate $2 from each order of picadillo queso nachos.
In 2015, Franklin Barbecue was damaged when a driver crashed into the dining room and drove away.
Speaking with the Austin American-Statesman, owner Aaron Franklin said the damage was worse than he expected. He still hopes to reopen soon, but the restaurant is awaiting an analysis.