Two owners made the Louisiana State University’s basketball team as walk-ons and another owner is a recently retired NFL quarterback with a Super Bowl ring.
With a pedigree like that – and a celebrated menu – Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar has opened more than 50 locations in 15 states.
Now, it’s picked Gilbert for its first foray into Arizona, aiming to open in the Gilbert Gateway Towne Center at 4928 S. Power Road in January.
Founded by LSU walk-ons Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, Walk-On’s also counts for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
When the 7,500-square-foot restaurant opens, it promises a “game day” atmosphere, from-scratch Louisiana cuisine, 48 beers on tap and 75 TVs – and Krispy Kreme bread pudding.
Walk-On’s also has started hiring over 200 people at walk-ons.com/careers.
The menu has won raves in other cities for its “unique twists on game-day staples and upscale takes on Louisiana mainstays,” such as crawfish etouffee and duck/andouille gumbo.
A high school basketball player at Catholic High in Baton Rouge, Landry didn’t let the fact he wasn’t recruited deter him from muscling his way onto the LSU basketball team, where he played from 1997-200.
He and Walker, another walk-on, came up with the idea for the restaurant traveling with the basketball team. Game trips allowed them to visit sports bars and restaurants around the country and they felt like Baton Rouge needed a concept similar to ones they sampled.
“Their idea began to take shape 35,000 feet above the earth as they sketched their vision for a floor plan on the back of a napkin while the team flew home from a road game at the University of Tennessee,” according to the restaurant’s website. In 2012, nine years after opening their first Walk-Ons, Brees joined as a co-owner as they began franchising their concept. Among the franchise owners is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
The owners boast that Walk Ons is “chef driven,” pointing to numerous awards, including National Restaurant News’ Menu Masters Award.
According to a release, Walk-On’s has 150 locations in development.
During the pandemic, it suspended its royalty payments and urged franchise owners to “pour those funds into homegrown efforts and support their team members.” Walk-On’s also pledged $100,000 to the Barstool Fund to help small businesses and other restaurants in their markets.