Thursday, February 23, 2023

[SCORE!] Drew Brees-backed Sports Bar to Enter Metro Atlanta

A new sports bar-backed by former NFL quarterback Drew Brees will soon open its first Atlanta area restaurant.  Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, which was started in Baton Rouge in 2003, plans to open later this summer at 3625 Dallas Highway at The Avenue West Cobb in Marietta.  The new restaurant replaces Romano's Macaroni Grill, which closed at the center during the first half of 2020.  

Brandon Landry, a former walk-on basketball player at LSU, opened the original Walk-On's and brought on former Saints quarterback and likely future hall of famer Drew Brees as an investor and ambassador for the brand in 2015. 

The Walk-On's menu, which features sports bar classics and New Orleans favorites, includes a variety of burgers, salads and tacos as well as things like Crawfish Etouffee, Duck and Andouille Gumbo, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bread Pudding, and, of course, beignets.

The company in June 2019 announced it had signed franchise development deals for new locations in Columbus, Augusta and Savannah with the ultimate goal of having 20 units open across Georgia by 2024.  The pandemic, supply chain disruptions and economic challenges no doubt slowed the chain's growth.  The first location in Georgia just opened this past November in Warner Robins.  The status of other locations announced in 2019 planned for Macon, Athens, Albany and Valdosta is unclear.  

There are currently about 70 locations throughout 14 states with the majority of the chain's locations in Texas and Louisiana.  

10 Point Capital, an Atlanta-based private equity firm formerly known as BIP Capital, invested in Walk-On's in October 2020 to aid the chain in its next phase of growth.  The firm's other investments include stakes in Slim Chickens and Phenix Salon Suites, with a previous stake in Tropical Smoothie Cafe.  

About a year ago, Walk-On's opened a corporate office in Atlanta that houses the brand's Chief Financial Officer, along with other finance, analytics, and technology positions.  Despite Landry saying at the time of the announcement that the chain will remain headquartered in Baton Rouge and that "Louisiana will always be the heartbeat and home of our brand," many see the move as a precursor to the chain moving to Atlanta.  Fellow Baton Rouge-born chain Raising Cane's - which will make its metro Atlanta debut in March - relocated their primary corporate roles to Dallas, Texas in 2008.  

In the Avenue West Cobb, Walk-On's joins existing restaurants such Ted's Montana Grill, Gibney's Tavern, Chili's Bar & Grill and Cima Taqueria, among others.  According to a source familiar with Walk-On's plans, the restaurant hopes to be open in August, in time for the start of the 2023 NFL season.  

Have you ever been to a Walk-On's restaurant?  What is your favorite New Orleans food item?  Where else in metro Atlanta would you like to see Walk-On's open?

Please share your thoughts below.   


Anonymous said...

I've been to this restaurant in another state and the food was decent, but I've only tried a couple of things. The best food item was an appetizer, the alligator bites, interestingly enough. Of course the place is full of TVs. I would likely go again because I love Louisiana style cuisine.

Anonymous said...

First time visit a few nights ago. 30 min. wait which was not too bad. Group of 4. Two of us had the grilled redfish with crawfish etouffee as
a topping(choice of 4-5 different types). Very good. Great non- frozen onion rings. Shrimp appetizer with cream cheese- wrapped in bacon
were also good. Bella, our server knew each item on the menu and made great recommendations. And she had a great personality. We all were pleased with our meals and the service and will return soon..

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