Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar is coming to S.R. 56 in Wesley Chapel, part of an aggressive expansion by the sports bar franchise owned in part by New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees.

Permitting has been filed with Pasco County planning for a 15,664-sq.-ft. shell building that is expected to be a commercial strip center right off S.R. 56, in front of the soon-to-open Hyatt Place Hotel & Convention Center.

The strip center is expected to be home to a number of coming projects that have been previously reported, like Golf Galaxy, Total Wine & More and others.

But two highly-anticipated eateries, Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar and Blaze Pizza, have already begun the permitting process, and won’t be headed to the new center as once-rumored.

Instead, both are beginning construction soon a little bit to the west, near the corner of S.R. 56 and Wesley Chapel Blvd. (S.R. 54). They will be located in the same center with Chipotle Mexican Grill, and a 3,000-sq.ft. Sleep Number store will also be on that parcel.

Pizza is the cover story in our upcoming Wesley Chapel issue hitting mailboxes on Friday, so you can read more about the emergence of the popular fast-casual chain.

Walk-On’s, a franchise with more than a dozen locations across Louisiana and Texas with an aggressive plan to expand into 11 other states this year, will be one of the few “pure” sports bars in the area.

Its founders, Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, met in 1997 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where both were walk-ons (hence the name) for the Tiger basketball team.

While they didn’t play much, they did get to travel the country with the Tigers and, along the way, visited enough sports bars that they formulated an idea for starting their own back in Baton Rouge.

According to the Walk-On’s website, in 2000, Landry and Warner sketched out their vision for a floor plan on a napkin from 35,000 feet above the earth, as they flew home from a road game at the University of Tennessee.

They opened their first location in 2003 and, in 2012, Walk On’s was named the No. 1 Sports Bar in America. Two years later, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees joined the business as a co-owner.

Walk-On’s menu is a little different than many sports bars, highlighted by some unique Cajun dishes, like po’boy sandwiches, gumbo, crawfish, fried Lousiana Alligator and Cajundillas (a tortilla stuffed with chicken, andouille, boudin sausage, caramelized onions and cheese).

All of it served by waitresses dressed as cheerleaders and televisions blaring the calls from your favorite sporting events.

While there are other sports-related options in New Tampa and Wesley Chapel, Walk-On is likely to be a welcome addition for area sports fans.


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