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West Campus Barbecue Restaurant Freedmen’s Is Closing

The smoked meats joint will continue to operate as a catering company

A tray of barbecue from Freedmen’s
A tray of barbecue from Freedmen’s
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Freedmen’s, the West Campus barbecue restaurant, is closing, as reported by Austin 360. Its last day of service will be on Friday, August 31.

Freedmen’s owner Cuatro Kowalski decided to close the restaurant because of the impending construction of an eight-story student housing development. He is open to reopening the restaurant when construction is finished.

In the meantime, Freedmen’s will continue to cook for catering and event gigs through a commissary kitchen. Kowalski is also opening a new restaurant called Four Stones, which will also serve barbecue.

The Historic Landmark Commission approved of the future plans for the 2402 San Gabriel Street block, pending that the physical Freedmen’s space, which is a historic building that dates back to the 1860s, is safe. Plans show that the building will be surrounded by the development within a planned courtyard and buffers.

Kowalski had already shuttered his next-door sports bar Tap 24 earlier this summer because its TABC permit was set to expire and he just decided to not renew it.

Before Kowalski opened Freedmen’s in 2012, the building had been an Italian grocery store in the 1920s, as well as the home of Reverend Jacob Fontaine (who ran one of the country’s first black newspapers) in the late 1870s to 1890s.

Kowalski also runs Texas 46 BBQ out in Spring Branch, Texas.


2402 San Gabriel Street, , TX 78705 (512) 220-0953 Visit Website