Louisiana sports bar from NFL star heats up gumbo for Arlington

Louisiana sports bar from NFL star heats up gumbo for Arlington

Are those hush puppies winking at you right now? Photo courtesy of Walk-Ons

A sports bar-restaurant concept co-owned by an NFL football player will continue its DFW expansion with a new location set for a hot retail center in Arlington.

Called Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar, it's the Baton Rouge-based chain that made its DFW debut in Irving, where it opened in January. This will be the second location in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Walk-On's was founded by Brandon Landry and is co-owned by New Orleans Saints superstar Drew Brees and features Louisiana cuisine and a full bar in a game-day atmosphere. Brees and his wife, Brittany, bought in as co-owners in 2015.

The Arlington location is going into a former Houlihan's at 401 E Interstate 20. Local franchise owners are Johnny Qubty and Joshua Allen.

According to Landry, who made an appearance at the restaurant's January 21 ground-breaking, the restaurant will open in mid- to late-April.

They describe Walk-On as superior to the typical sports bar, with from-scratch food, a wide array of cocktails and craft beers, a family-friendly atmosphere, and a commitment to outstanding customer service.

The menu definitely has a Louisiana vibe, including po'boys, gumbo, fried alligator, boudin balls, fried oysters, and crawfish etouffee. But Landry says it's only about 30 percent of a menu that also includes pastas, burgers, sandwiches, and wraps.

Starters include waffle cheese fries, fried pickles, boneless wings, cheeseburger sliders, spinach-artichoke dip, and venison nachos.

Distinctive offerings include a cheeseburger wrap, a crawfish BLT, and a po'boy made with rib eye and Swiss cheese.

Texas has been a priority ever since the company started franchising, Landry says. The company is also expanding to Houston with locations penciled in for Katy and Spring. There are locations in Lubbock, San Antonio, and Tyler, plus a dozen outlets in Louisiana, and more on the way.

"We just opened our 25th location and plan to open more than 100 across the country, but Dallas represents one of our largest markets," Landry says.

At the Arlington location, they're adding about 1,500 square feet for a restaurant that will seat 250 people, and the number of TVs will come in at over 90, which is nothing to sneeze at.

"But anybody can add a lot of TVs," Landry says. "If you look at our culture and what we try to do, we're over 50-50 male to female, and that's not typical in a sports bar setting. And we don't take the usual approach of 'freezer-to-fryer' foods. For us, everything is made from scratch."

"It's more than just the food, it's the culture as well," he says. "We're not a Cajun restaurant, we're about sharing our taste of Louisiana."