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Aaron Franklin announces Franklin Barbecue reopening and 2022 Hot Luck fest dates

Matthew Odam
Austin 360
Aaron Franklin (left) and his festival, Hot Luck, have partnered with Houston chef Chris Shepherd's Southern Smoke. The festival returns in May 2022.

Things are slowly getting back to normal in the world of Austin’s most famous pitmaster. 

Aaron Franklin and his Hot Luck partners announced this week that after a two-year, pandemic-created hiatus, their food and live music festival will return in 2022. 

The festival will take place May 26-29 in venues across town, and passes are on sale at a deeply discounted early bird rate. The Whole Enchilada pass, which gains access to all of the food and music programming, including an opening night party at Franklin Barbecue, currently cost $450 and will increase to $700 in the weeks ahead. 

Next year’s fest, for which talent will he rolled out early next year, also offers new ticketing options for attendees ages 13-20 and for kids 12 and under. More information at hotluckfest.com. 

A portion of tickets sales benefit the Southern Smoke organization, a non-profit organization created by Houston chef Chris Shepherd that benefits hospitality workers in need. 

Franklin isn’t just ramping back up his festival; he’s also preparing to swing open the dining room doors to his famous restaurant again. Franklin Barbecue's owners announced this week that the dining room would reopen November 23, two days before Thanksgiving, marking the first in-person dining service at the East Austin restaurant since March 2020. 

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Owners Aaron and Stacy Franklin, whose restaurant has been running to-go and shipping services only during the pandemic, had originally planned to reopen in September but pushed back those plans in the face of the rising COVID-19 case numbers brought on by the Delta variant. 

“I can't wait to start giving out some hugs and high-fives,” Franklin told the American-Statesman about his thoughts on reopening earlier this year, “The amount of love and goodwill that happens out in this parking lot is pretty magical, and I think we all really miss it."