Brandon Landry earned a C-plus on his business plan to open a sports bar while he attended LSU. He earned a walk-on spot on the basketball team before graduating in 2001 and realized he probably wasn’t going to play in the NBA and needed to come up with a different career path. Two years later, he opened his first Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux in Baton Rouge with a Louisiana-inspired menu. Now the brand features 58 locations nationwide with the first coming to the Las Vegas Strip in early 2022.
Walk-On’s plans to take over the former Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Harrah’s Las Vegas with a sports dining venue. Landry and Walk-On’s teamed up with Hash House A Go Go for the opening. For two years, the two talked about where to open in Las Vegas when Caesars Entertainment approached Hash House CEO Jim Nyberg about bringing a breakfast restaurant to the Toby Keith space after it permanently closed. Instead of bringing a second Hash House (it already has a location at the Linq), Nyberg suggested Walk-On’s. The Harrah’s location will be the first to offer breakfast as well as the Walk-On’s menu of crawfish etouffee, duck and andouille gumbo, and Krispy Kreme bread pudding. “We’ve got to do some renovations for kitchen and things like that, but it’s a pretty adaptable space, so we’re excited about the convergence,” Landry says.
It will also be one of the largest locations, spanning nearly 12,000 square feet on the second floor of Harrah’s. “This will give us a little bit more room to spread out a little bit with more TVs and space on the big game days,” Landry says of space near Caesars Forum Conference Center and the Monorail. The restaurant plans to offer 60 televisions, brick arches for a stadium feel, and wooden tables sans the typical sports bar memorabilia.
Landry’s emphasizes that Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux is first and foremost a restaurant with voodoo shrimp and grits, crawfish two ways with crawfish étouffée and fried crawfish tails, catfish atchafalaya, a roster of po-boys, and the signature cocktail, the Mad Mary, along with sandwiches, salads, burgers, and tacos. “We’re not saying we’re a Cajun restaurant, but about 30 percent of our menu is fresh gulf seafood and food Louisiana is known for,” Landry says. Breakfast will bring a short list of dishes, incorporating Louisiana ingredients such as andouille sausage, boudin, and beignets alongside some seafood for breakfast and chicken and waffles, all with Hash House’s farm fresh flair.
A little sports flair is part of the sports bar as well. Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a part owner, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Devin White own franchises as well. Landry says that while Brees is now a studio analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America and Notre Dame football games, he may find time to come to Las Vegas for the grand opening.
“To think that we’re going to open up on the Las Vegas Strip,” Landry says. “The concept that wasn’t supposed to work. We got a C-plus on the project when we did it in college. To think of where we are now.”