Barbecue Legend Aaron Franklin Is Opening an Austin Sandwich Shop

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Pitmaster Aaron Franklin and James Moody, owner of Red River music venue Mohawk/co-founder of creative agency Guerilla Suit, are opening a neighborhood bar and sandwich shop in East Austin. Uptown Sports Club will be found on 1200 East Sixth Street in East Austin, as pointed out by a tweet last night and confirmed by an investor deck that no longer appears on its website.

The neighborhood sandwich shop and bar is meant to feel and function like “Argentine pulperias, Spanish cocktail bars, and New Orleans delis,” according to that investor deck. The counter-service space will be open from the daytime into the late-night.

From Franklin, expect sandwiches (a sample menu teases potential brisket po’ boys, roast beef on rye, grilled cheeses), gumbo, and breakfast (perhaps barbecue and egg biscuit sandwiches, oats, and eggs).

Drinks are being helmed by cocktail expert Chris Bostick of Rainey Street bar Half Step. These will include house cocktails, beers, wines, coffee, and non-alcoholic frozen concoctions.

The space is being designed by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture, as confirmed by the firm. Current permitting indicates that the space will feature a cocktail lounge with indoor seating, and a large back patio with plenty of greenery.

Because of Moody’s involvement, there’s a music plan for Uptown throughout the day. There’s a whole Spotify playlist featuring Muddy Waters to Janis Joplin to Marvin Gaye, to The Beatles,

The East Sixth building, which dates back to the 1800s, had been a bar and cafe — Arnold Hernandez & Sons Sport Bar — from the 1960s to 1990s. It became Uptown Sports in 1999 under a new unnamed owner, but that eventually closed. La Barbecue actually had a setup at the back of the building under pitmaster John Lewis for a bit.

Notably, it’s also the same address that had been plastered with all of that fake Chili’s signage back in 2017. Franklin had mentioned he was working on something on Sixth Street in the summer of 2018 when there were false rumors that the restaurant was closing.

This isn’t the first time Franklin and Moody have worked together: the two, along with co-founder of Portland food festival Feast Mike Thelin, run Austin food festival Hot Luck. Along with Franklin Barbecue, there’s Loro, his Asian smokehouse restaurant with Uchi’s Tyson Cole (which is expanding into Dallas and Houston), the taco and coffee truck outside of the East 11th Street restaurant, and his hand-built smoker business Franklin Barbecue Pits.

(h/t Paula Forbes)