What might be Austin’s — and perhaps Texas, though that’s probably asking for trouble — most iconic BBQ joint is closed for business. It’s only temporary, but a fire has forced Franklin Barbecue to shut its doors for a bit, keeping people away from all those delicious meats. According to KXAN, the restaurant will be closed for an unknown amount of time due to the fire that destroyed the smokehouse and luckily only caused light smoke damage to the restaurant itself.
Reports indicate that a cook who was working at the time noted that four of the smokehouse’s seven smokers were in operation during the blaze, but the cause of the fire seemed to be something smaller than you’d expect:
The Austin Fire Department says the fire started just before 5:30 a.m. after the wind blew an ember from the fire pit and it hit the backside of the building. When firefighters got there, there was heavy smoke coming from the backside of the building…
The damage is estimated to be a total of #350,000, with $200,000 for the structure and $150,000 of content.
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Much love to the Austin fire department for helping us save the restaurant today. The fire destroyed the smokehouse but we plan to rebuild and reopen asap. We are happy to report that everyone is safe and we feel all the love ❤️ from your texts emails and comments. @austinfiredept
The restaurant does close its doors for holidays, vacations, and other less catastrophic events. The fire seems to be the first damage to strike the restaurant since 2015 according to KXAN, when a car drove into the dining room area and then pulled away. As was reported at the time, general manager Benji Jacob said, “We opened 10 minutes late today, it’s the first time in our history.”
Franklin Barbecue has become famous thanks to its appearances on television, like an episode Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and it’s famous customers that stop by to gawk at its long line. The line itself might be just as famous, sometimes with a wait that ranges between one hour to three hours on a Saturday. Barack Obama even visited the joint, buying food for all the folks behind him in line. But he didn’t get the secrets!