Austin Business Journal : Aaron Franklin cooking up plans for new East Austin restaurant

Signs are pointing to another new restaurant for famed Austin pitmaster Aaron Franklin.

Eater Austin reports the James Beard Award-winning chef, known as the man behind Franklin Barbecue, plans to open an East Austin bar and sandwich shop with James Moody, the owner of concert venue Mohawk and a co-founder of Guerilla Suit, an Austin-based creative studio and design agency.

Franklin’s name carries significant weight in Austin and beyond. Franklin Barbecue has been lauded everywhere from Bon Appetit to Conde Naste Traveler. Loro, an Asian-style smokehouse he created with fellow James Beard winner Tyson Cole, opened in Austin in 2018 and is now expanding into Dallas and Houston.

The new East Austin establishment appears to be called Uptown Sports Club and will be located at 1200 E. Sixth St., according to Eater, which uncovered an investor deck on the Uptown Sports Club website, although that has since been taken down.

That investor deck offered some insight into the expected vibe of the restaurant — think “Argentine pulperias, Spanish cocktail bars, and New Orleans delis,” according to the deck uncovered by Eater. A sample menu also teased potential food items such as brisket po’ boys, roast beef on rye and grilled cheeses with a drink menu reportedly being curated by Chris Bostick of Rainey Street cocktail bar Half Step.

A proposed site plan dated Jan. 7 shows that a renovation of the existing space at 1200 E. Sixth St. will be led by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture.

The location was once the home of a bar and restaurant called Arnold Hernandez & Sons Sports Bar, according to Eater, and was briefly called Uptown Sports under new ownership around the turn of the century.

Travis Central Appraisal District records show that an entity called 1200 East 6th Partners LLC purchased the land from Connie Hernandez in 2016. The property was valued at $745,085 in 2019, according to TCAD.

Credit goes to Paula Forbes, an Austin-based freelance writer, for her internet sleuthing on this story. Check out a link to her Twitter thread on the subject below, which includes a screenshot from a 2018 Texas Monthly story about Franklin that teased a project on Sixth Street.

“We’ve got something fun up our sleeve,” Franklin said at the time, “but we can’t say what just yet.”

In addition to his restaurants, Franklin is embracing other business lines. In 2017 he launched a business to sell at-home smokers. Austin Monthly recently caught up with the acclaimed chef for its issue on local makers and reported that the smokers will finally be unveiled this spring.

Originally posted on Austin Business Journal