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Franklin's Update

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I noticed the sign is up. Looks like it could be soon. Anyone in the know?

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  1. I think he said 2nd week of March when I was at the trailer last Saturday. He did say that actual capacity will initially be lower than his current location...48 heads if I remember correctly. He did say that the day he moves in he's getting permits to add ADA accessible bathrooms and outdoor (maybe partially enclosed...can't remember) seating that will significantly increase the capacity.

    1. We traded emails last week and he projected pre-SXSW but didn't give me an exact date.

      1. I was there yesterday and he said hopefully around March 8.

        1. I took a look at the inside this weekend, still a lot of work to be done. March 8 seems like an optimistic date, hope it happens though.

          He said they plan on adding a beer garden at some point.

          1. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Aaron pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious.

            P.S. - It's Franklin, not Franklin's

            6 Replies
            1. re: brentwood

              This is food we're talking about, not Tolstoy, McGrumps.

              1. re: brentwood

                ...No problem whatsoever.

                1. re: brentwood

                  Nice. All minor corrections should have to post something funny before the correction in order to soften the blow.

                  1. re: ret3

                    I'm confused. What am I missing here? I don't understand the previous four comments at all.

                    1. re: rudeboy

                      quotes from ferris bueller, and then a p.s. that the poster mis-spelled the restaurant.

                      1. re: dinaofdoom

                        Franklin just posted on Facebook that the new location will open March 12.

                        Also: This Sunday will be the last day of the trailer location, and he promises "free beer."

                2. I haven't seen any updates on the new Franklin BBQ location E 11th (old Longbranch BBQ spot). We got there at 10:45 this morning to a line of 40+ people. Since the place doesn't open until 11 that's pretty impressive. Of course, there were a good number of SXSW badges in line so I assume when that is over, the line should shrink some.

                  The good news is the barbecue is spot on perfect as the old trailer location despite being opened just 4 days when we visited. The brisket was so tasty and tender despite being from the lean section. The pork ribs were top notch. The pulled pork is always third to me at Franklin but still might tasty.

                  The bad news is the line moves no faster than it did at the trailer. It took a solid 40 minutes for us to get to the front before getting our food. They also have not finished any smoker expansion and Aaron said they have been selling out around 2pm so you need to plan accordingly. Long term they plan on expanding their smokers, seating and bathrooms.

                  Other things to note: this is not cheap 'cue. $15/lb brisket, $13/lb ribs; they serve throwback (aka real sugar) Big Red in bottles; they are selling Cake & Spoon mini-pies (key lime and lemon chess and more) for $4 and it was excellent if you can find room.

                  All in all, a good experience despite the line. I'm glad they are doing well since the barbecue is so good.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Carter B.

                    That pricing is $2.00 per pound higher than at the trailer.

                    1. re: PappyAustin

                      I was about to say the same thing. Fuel surcharge =)

                      1. re: PappyAustin

                        2$. I want my 2$. eat it and weep people. Its just damn good and that $2 should go to making a nice comfy home for the owners who f'ing nailed it with what they provide the public. i went opening day. the first people in line showed up at 10 pm the night before and drank 4 lokos. the next group were 7 am arrivals. next 8 am. its just fun to see people revere food this much. it was also fun to collect the 4+ pounds of leftovers from the table of drunkards I attended the opening with. Noshed dor 3 straight days at home on them goods and then took the rest to a dinner party. Won that one. We got there at 10 20 and started eating at 12 30. It was BYOB then but i hear they have awesome local taps now. If i had one eish, just one little wish, please, please Mr and Mrs Franklin; please make your own whole pickles. The idea of having a nice, fat, crsip dill pickle to help digestt that fatty cue would make a world of difference come nap time. I'm serious. It would be like those macrobitoic meals the health nuts talk about . I think something pickled really helps with digestion. Guess that slaw on the tipsy texan works well for that. going back asap no matter .

                      2. re: Carter B.

                        I was about 20 minutes behind CarterB in line today, and echo his sentiments. I'm bummed that the line moves no faster at the new restaurant, but glad that the quality is exactly the same. No doubt there were a ton of visitors from SXSW in the line - I arrived at 11:05, and didn't have food until 11:45. They were sold out of brisket by 12:50. I had the fatty brisket, and as usual it was pure decadence in meat form.

                        A nice addition: their soda fountain has Dublin Dr. Pepper on tap. Franklin told me that they should have their beer permit by this weekend, too.

                      3. went there Friday with a friend visiting, still in town for SXSW from South of France--if you want the ribs, you gotta get in line by 10:30--we got there more like noon, I ended up getting a pound of brisket that is still, for my money, the gold standard for BBQ Brisket--or perhaps tied with Smitty's in Lockhart--albeit I have not been to Snow's in Lexington--I love Sam's for the Mutton, but otherwise, this is the best BBQ in Austin, by far....

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: taliesin15

                          the pork ribs I think are the standout, sorry you missed them G, I've had none better anywhere outside of memphis. yep, the brisket is outstanding even if slightly less, but so good. The 1 hr long lines, now for a year, speak for themselves. what a new gem.

                        2. http://www.bonappetit.com/magazine/sl...

                          Bon Appetit: "The Best BBQ Restaurant in America."

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: heyzeus212

                            http://austin.eater.com/archives/2011...

                            LeeMNichols comments and makes an interesting point about the reviewer:
                            "If this reviewer 'never considered Texas brisket real BBQ,' then he is a clueless dope, and any opinion he utters should be considered suspect at best."

                            Either way, glad to see more publicized success for Mr. Franklin's fine business and even finer brisket, and I'm curious to see if the increased publicity noticeably impacts the current line wait times.

                            1. re: tom in austin

                              It really is an odd article. The writer concedes to not knowing much about Texas BBQ, then proclaims Franklin the best in the country. He doesn't put the place in context by explaining why it's better than the rest of the pantheon (or state whether he's even tried, say, Kreuz, Smitty's, Coopers etc), or say all that much about the food itself at Franklin. If you're going to make absolute proclamations like that, you gotta back it up.

                          2. When I was last there about a month ago, the talk was that Aaron was going to increase smoking capacity by using the biggest metal box he could find - a metal storage container was on order. Anyone hear anything?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ridgeback

                              Yeah, he's building another pit, and told me that he's going to be able to go from something like 700 lbs a day to 1800 (I don't remember the exact numbers) once it's done.

                              1. re: heyzeus212

                                Again, the problem isn't the amount of meat but the speed at which they can distribute it. Can we get several barkers and several cutters instead?

                                1. re: amysuehere

                                  I agree with this. I'm OK with them running out if they do it quickly. I don't have an hour to blow just to hear that I got there too late and they're out of brisket; barkers and cutters will increase the distribution velocity, which is the key problem, at least from my (biased) viewpoint.

                                  This is where hiring linewaiters comes in -- Franklin brisket is good enough that I'd happily pay someone ten or fifteen bucks to wait in line for me. (Treated like a commission; I don't pay if they don't deliver brisket!)

                                  The fact that some people (like me) are willing to pay people to wait in line tells you that Franklin has a great product and is also leaving money on the table. The expansion sounds like a good step, although I do worry about the expansion dropping the quality. I suppose I shouldn't, as Mr. Franklin has demonstrated an impeccable ability to scientifically craft his methodology and manage change.

                                  My other concern is that as scarcity drops, so will the perception of value, and I'd hate for Mr. Franklin to face a deleterious outcome as a reward for trying to feed more customers.

                                  Completely off-thread: I'd love for Franklin to do a "team up" and bring in Tony to do CFS and fried chicken, along with Ben to do only mutton. The East side ain't what it used to be, but Franklin's starpower could be the banner that brings back the old greats. Franklin's product wouldn't be threatened, as he would be hiring experts to do just what they do, and he could remain focused on the brisket. A silly dream, I know.

                                  1. re: tom in austin

                                    An honest question, I'm not trying to be a bitch, but which would you rather do? "Pay someone ten or fifteen bucks to wait in line for [you]," or pay a slightly higher price for barbeque in order to pay the wages of the new meat cutters you want? Another thread on the Austin board already discussed the ethics involved with barbeque line holders, and this thread stated earlier that "this is not cheap 'cue." How much is speedy service at Franklin's worth to you?

                                    1. re: karma belle

                                      Personally, I'd rather pay more for the barbecue. I doubt the increase in cost would be as much as the pay to the line holders, and I'd prefer that the money go to the Franklin business than to some third party. I think Aaron could get away with charging more, but my opinion about this point is completely irrelevant.

                            2. NYT joins the publicity party:
                              http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/19/us/...

                              1. Hi all! Any Franklin updates? We will be there next weekend and - being the sucker for product placement I am - we've been wanting to check out Franklin after seeing it featured in the Chase credit card commercials. Our flight on Saturday arrives at 11:35… will they be sold out by 1:00/2:00? What is the wait time on Sundays and what time should we get in line to make sure the BF gets his brisket? Thank you so much for all your help, tips, & advice!

                                22 Replies
                                1. re: Tehama

                                  I'd recommend skipping Franklin all together and go to LA BBQ. they have food way longer and the lines are way more reasonable. LIke an hour or less in and out instead of two and I find the food just as good.

                                  1. re: Rptrane

                                    I just looked at the LA BBQ website - looks amazing. Anyplace that says bring your own dog & beer has my vote! I am guessing they are just a lunch venue (11am till sold out?). Thank you all so much! I also posted on another Austin thread about best steak (boyfriend's birthday weekend!), and if you have any suggestions on that topic, please let us know. Many thanks to everyone!

                                    1. re: Tehama

                                      Yeah la bbq runs out early but it's easier to actually get food. FYI it's a trailer with outdoor seating there are heaters. You'll more likely have a problem being hot than cold. The seating area at La is covered though. Stiles switch is also pretty good but La is better.

                                      1. re: Rptrane

                                        I definitely want to go to LA BBQ - especially after I got back a super nice email from a lady who works there today. I got another recommendation today from a friend of a friend that recommends Freedmans, too.

                                        Website looks great - but the question is --- is it Chowhound approved?

                                        http://www.freedmensbar.com

                                        We're going to come back so fat from our trip to Austin. :-(

                                        1. re: Tehama

                                          I'm no bbq pro but I definitely approve. My family and I shared a hundred bucks worth of La BBQ last week (some for lunch; more for home). Stood in line for an hour (starting around 11:30) and they were out of a few things when we got to the front of the line. The brisket was divine and the pork ribs great, too. I've only eaten at Franklin once, but the brisket at La Barbecue last week was as good as the brisket I had at Franklin that day.

                                          Enjoy your trip! (You're aware, yes, that everything is starting to be extra busy because of SXSW approaching? You may want to figure on some extra wait times.)

                                          1. re: storefronteats

                                            You are completely awesome! Thank you!

                                            I love all you Austin Hounds. Everyone has been so sweet and helpful as we are planning his birthday trip!

                                          2. re: Tehama

                                            Freedmen's is good but its not quite at the same level as Franklin's, LA BBQ, John Muellers, or Micklewait.

                                            Freedmen's is good if you want to dine at night and get a whiskey cocktail with your BBQ though.

                                            1. re: lixlix

                                              Freedman has outdoor seating, the inside is super small. I can't speak for the BBQ but the smoked banana pudding wasn't anything special and the service sucked. I don't plan on returning.

                                            2. re: Tehama

                                              Yes, one of the best in Texas.

                                      2. re: Tehama

                                        The time to go is around 9 or 9:30. Bring a six pack. I don't think that you will be able to do Franklin's on the day you arrive. See Rptrane's suggestion below. Have fun!

                                        1. re: Tehama

                                          Thank y'all so very much!

                                          1. re: Tehama

                                            Head over to Micklethwait's Craft Meats as soon as you get in town! Some of the best BBQ around, IMO, and very little wait. Don't miss the homemade moon pie, either! https://www.facebook.com/MIcklethwait...

                                            1. re: knightro98

                                              Looks amazing! Just to be clear, this is a food truck (which I am all for!), right?

                                              I think I already saw it on a compilation of Austin food trucks that I recalled having a Craft Meats and I remember thinking at the time it looked tasty. I really appreciate the suggestion and the tip! Yum!

                                            2. re: Tehama

                                              Hey all! Thank you so much for the information everyone so graciously shared with us for our trip this past weekend. Unfortunately, we got to LA Barbecue too late on Saturday (they were still there, but the bbq was sold out), so we ate at the other food trucks where LA BBQ is parked.

                                              Sunday was cold and rainy, so we went to Freedman's Barbecue before getting on the road to go over to Garrison Brother's Distillery. Y'all. It was SO AMAZING. The venue itself is beautifully done/decorated and through the rainy, foggy windows upstairs, I could easily imagine sitting in the beer garden on a warm, spring day. The BF got "the holy trinity" I think it was called, and I got the chopped sliders. The warm German potato salad with (I think) chunks of bacon was delicious.

                                              The kicker was the 2 tables next to us. One gal asked what vegetarian options there were which I found odd considering we were in a barbecue restaurant. The other table requested lactose-free bread. I dunno, I just thought those were some strange requests in a barbecue joint, but maybe that is just the Austin way. :-)

                                              The mimosas were a perfect way to start the BF's birthday and we thoroughly enjoyed the food-coma from Freedman's.

                                              I really wish I had gotten to try Franklins or LA BBQ and Micklethwait's, but that just gives us something to look forward to on our next trip!

                                              Thank you again!

                                              www.freedmensbar.com/‎
                                              2402 San Gabriel St, Austin, TX 78705
                                              (512) 220-0953

                                              1. re: Tehama

                                                Tehama - thanks for following up. I didn't even know that this place existed!!

                                                I can't tell why, but your link doesn't work. Maybe the slash. Here it is:

                                                http://www.freedmensbar.com/

                                                Funny, if you map it on google, and then put the streetview guy in the middle of the building, the view is inside the bar. Shocked me. I'm behind the times, I guess.

                                                1. re: rudeboy

                                                  Oh, cool! I didn't know the StreetView thing did that either. So neat! Apparently a friend of my friend is the newest addition to the chef-staff at Freedman's. Chris, I think is his name, and he just joined the Freedman's cooking staff a couple of weeks ago from LA BBQ (I was told), so I was reasonably certain the meal would be terrific. It did NOT disappoint at all! If I lived in Austin, I would easily be a regular there (and a very chubby one at that!).

                                                  1. re: Tehama

                                                    You need to move to Austin, Tehama. Your sleuthing is invaluable.

                                                    1. re: rudeboy

                                                      aaawww! thank you! Actually, the BF and I were there on a "fact finding" mission. Austin is at the top of our list of possibilities! Maybe I'll be chow"hounding" y'all for more info in the coming months! :-)

                                                      1. re: Tehama

                                                        Funny, I almost moved to Raleigh last year. Yes, I'm stalking you!

                                                        1. re: rudeboy

                                                          hahaha! We will trade food tips! Happy Friday!

                                                  2. re: rudeboy

                                                    Thanks for the review, Tehama. You would be very welcome at the Austin board.

                                                    Yes, I'm afraid Austin has become very - how shall I put this nicely - "order conscious." Kinda reminds me of a trip out to California where everyone needs to have some kind of "special need" to be special.

                                                    You've made me want to hit Garrison the first real spring day we have. (I was crushed when this last freeze killed all the wisteria bloom buds on my vine!).

                                                    He-hem...

                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/888709

                                                    Rudeboy doesn't give me love anymore...;-)

                                                    1. re: amysuehere

                                                      Oh man, I was off my game and traveling overseas. I fell behind!