Tuscaloosa is getting a new way to gameday.

Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, a restaurant and bar based out of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, held a soft opening last week to give its new neighbors a feel for its Cajun-infused sports fare. The Skyland Boulevard location is the fourth of its kind in Alabama, making it the 52nd franchise in the United States.

The restaurant hosted several "pre-game" mock services, offering the community a free meal to allow its staff to complete their training ahead of their May 31 grand opening. With fan favorites like waffle cheese fries, "cajundillas" and Krispy Kreme bread pudding headlining the gameday-inspired menu, Tuscaloosans arrived in droves to sample the newest restaurant in town.

"We're obviously very popular in Louisiana," he said."We wanted to share our Louisiana
cooking with the rest of the South, and we're going North now. So, it's just wanting to share what we do with everybody."

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Guests were also able to order alcoholic beverages from the Walk-On's bar menu, though it was not for free. Thirsty patrons had to pay for their alcoholic beverages, choosing from one of Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux's several beer, wine and cocktail selections.

And, guests can rest easy knowing their purchase is headed toward a good cause. All proceeds from the pre-game alcohol sales are going to be presented as a check to the Nick's Kids Foundation during the grand opening ceremony Monday.

Bible explained that the success that Walk-On's generates does not come from any sort of fanfare or gimmick. His philosophy is simple: do what you love, and do it right.

"We're working with the University of Alabama and their marketing department and stuff like that to get the word out there," he said. "It's really just our social media and word of mouth. You won't see a Walk-On's commercial on the TV or on the radio, but we do what we do, we do it well, and people will come."

But, the success hasn't come easy.

"It has been a struggle because everybody is hiring, you know, and with the pandemic, the hospitality industry has taken a huge hit," Bible said. "We've had people come in from Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida to help train us and they're here for the
next week, week and a half and then we're on our own. But, everybody's been
fantastic."

While Tuscaloosans don't take too kindly to many things that come out of Baton Rouge, the soft opening seemed to be quite a success. And, Bible is not anxious about the upcoming football season at all – football players are free to duke it out on the field, but at Walk-On's, everyone's family after the game.

"As a matter of fact, Brandon Landry, our founder, gave a message for us this morning on the TV for our pre-shift," Bible said. "Brandon was an LSU basketball player, a walk-on – hence the name. So he played four years at LSU, and at the end of his little chat with us, he said 'Roll Tide.'"

Equipped with 67 flat-screen TVs, there is not a bad seat in the house. And, with a robust menu that is sure to please everyone in the family, the staff and management at Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux are hoping their restaurant becomes the place to be for gameday.

 

To follow Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux on Facebook, click here.

The Tuscaloosa Thread will be live at Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux during its grand opening on Monday, May 31 at 10 a.m. Stay connected here for more updates as they become available.

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