Walk-On's sports bar coming to downtown Chattanooga

Photo by Dave Flessner / The new Walk-On's sports bar and restaurant is taking shape at 224 Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga where the Bluewater Grille operated for 13 years before closing in the spring of 2019.

A taste of Louisiana is coming to downtown Chattanooga next month when Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux opens in a Broad Street storefront once occupied by Bluewater Grille before it closed two years ago after 13 years of operation.

The new 7,500-square-foot, two-story restaurant has begun hiring to fill the 200 positions at the new sports bar, which will feature more than 70 television sets, local beers on draft and an air-conditioned outdoor patio.

Walk-On's was started in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2003 by a pair of walk-on basketball players for Louisiana State University - Brandon Landry and Jack Warner - and expanded to Tennessee last year with a restaurant and bar on Kingston Pike in Knoxville. Chattanooga is the second site in Tennessee for the growing restaurant chain.

Although Landry and Warner didn't get a lot of playing time while at LSU, they did develop a friendship and business that is growing across the Southeast and now includes more than 50 company-owned and franchised units either open or in the planning stages. Landry said the idea for the restaurant took shape when the LSU basketball team was flying back to Baton Rouge from Knoxville after playing the University of Tennessee.

With the growth of the restaurant chain, the pair have attracted outside investors, including NFL All-Pro Quarterback Drew Brees, one of the company's co-owners.

The menu at Walk-On's features twists on game-day staples and takes on Louisiana mainstays, such as crawfish etouffee, duck and andouille gumbo and Krispy Kreme donut bread pudding. Landry said each dish at Walk-Ons is made from scratch using fresh ingredients.

DBMC Restaurants LLC, one of the largest franchisees of Walk-On, is opening the downtown Chattanooga unit.

"We're excited to continue Walk-On's growth throughout Tennessee and can't wait to make our Chattanooga debut," said Jason Gisclair, president of DBMC Restaurants. "There's nothing like Walk-On's in the Chattanooga area, so we look forward to quickly establishing the brand as the go-to destination for made-from-scratch Louisiana cuisine served in a family-friendly, game-day atmosphere."

In 2012, ESPN named Walk-On's the No. 1 Sports Bar in America; in 2015, Walk-On's was picked as a winner of the National Restaurant News' Menu Masters Award, and in 2020 Entrepreneur magazine named Walk-On's in its list of top new franchises.

The Chattanooga Walk-On's restaurant is now hiring workers, who may apply in person at the Courtyard by Marriott at 200 Chestnut Street or by texting 89631. Job applicants also may find out about available jobs at walk-ons.com/careers.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6340.