Walk-On’s Bistreaux and Bar has brought in a Super Bowl MVP as part of an effort to expand the chain of sports bars locally and nationally.
New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, reached a deal Monday to become co-owners of Walk-On’s Enterprises, the Baton Rouge company that created and operates four popular restaurants across south Louisiana, with four more in the works.
They did not disclose how much of an interest Brees is buying or how much he paid.
Brees posed for pictures with Walk-On’s owners Brandon Landry and Rick Farrell on Monday at a private meeting area next to the company’s Poydras Street restaurant. He joked about wearing the Saints jersey with “Walk-On’s” across the back during a preseason game as a way of getting attention for the restaurant.
Brees said he’s “extremely excited about the growth opportunities” for Walk-On’s not only locally but regionally. But he said he wasn’t sure about letting “the cat out of the bag” yet about additional restaurants.
Brees said he and his wife plan on playing an active role with Walk-On’s as company leaders work to make the brand national.
“Brittany and I are committed to working closely with Brandon and the team to do whatever we can to contribute to Walk-On’s success going forward,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, and celebrate a lot of wins, in the years ahead.”
Walk-On’s has two locations in Baton Rouge and one each in New Orleans and Lafayette. Later this year, a Houma location will open, along with the first franchise restaurant in Lake Charles.
Making Walk-On’s a national brand has been in the works for a while now. Farrell, a New Orleans businessman, bought into the company in January 2014 as part of an effort to expand the company beyond Louisiana. In August, the chain hired three veteran restaurant executives to help with franchising.
Brees has been a Jimmy John’s franchisee for several years and currently has five locations of the sandwich shop across metro New Orleans.
Landry, who co-founded Walk-On’s in September 2003, said he began talking to the Breeses about a year ago. During that time, he got to know what kind of person and businessman Brees is.
“He knows his stuff, and he’s in the restaurant business already,” Landry said. “We’re excited to bring him in as a partner, to learn from his leadership.”
The Poydras Street Walk-On’s won an ESPN contest as the best sports bar in America in 2012. Brees, Landry and Farrell said they want to build on that honor.
“From the minute we first all met, it became very clear we all have the same vision about where we wanted to take Walk-On’s and where we want it to be,” Brees said. “It’s already a very well-established brand, but we see opportunities beyond the local success and the local notoriety.” Because Walk-On’s has something on the menu for everyone, Brees said, it has the potential to be a “very successful” nationwide brand.
Landry said having Brees as a member of the Walk-On’s team gives the restaurant chain instant credibility nationwide.
“When you consider all the people we could have associated our brand with, there is absolutely no one I can think of that would be higher on our wish list than Brittany and Drew,” Landry said.
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