Walk-On’s, a leading full-service family sports bar that provides gourmet takes on game day favorites, has announced a new partnership with Aramark. Walk-On’s will anchor the all-new “Purdue Marketplace” set to enhance dining offerings for Purdue’s West Lafayette campus and community. Construction of this new, world-class food hall in the Purdue Memorial Union began this fall and is anticipated to be completed in January of 2022.
The 4,800-plus square foot Walk-On’s will feature a condensed menu with fan favorites including Bayou Pasta, Boom Boom Shrimp PoBoys, and Cajundillas, in addition to upscale takes on Louisiana mainstays – such as Crawfish Two Ways, Mardi Gras Mahi, and Duck and Andouille Gumbo. In addition to full-service dining, students and community members will be able to take advantage of a ‘grab and go’ option to appeal to busy lifestyles. For added convenience, students will be able to leverage Purdue’s Dining Dollars and all-new value-driven retail dining memberships. The restaurant will also include a full bar featuring a variety of options sourced from local breweries. Purdue Marketplace will also host several QSR concepts in addition to Walk-On’s as the full-service anchor.
“We’re excited about the strong growth opportunity of the non-traditional sector where a premium is placed on convenience, speed, quality and value,” says Walk-On’s President & COO, Scott Taylor. “Our brand has always been about creativity and adaptability - we place a huge value on innovation and are a nimble brand that works with partners on custom build-outs and menu offerings to meet their needs and the needs of the customers they serve. This first non-traditional unit marks an exciting chapter in our ongoing development efforts as we make our food and gameday experience more accessible than ever.”
The Midwest holds special meaning for Walk-On’s co-owner Drew Brees who attended Purdue University and led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl appearance. “This is such a humbling experience for me – being able to bring the great taste of Louisiana to my college campus as an alumnus,” says Brees. “From the education I received and playing for coach Joe Tiller, to the relationships I was able to form with many of my teammates and meeting my beautiful wife, I’m so thankful. Walk-On’s will be an incredible value-add and continue to strengthen a remarkable University.”
“Purdue is ecstatic about Walk-On’s coming to our campus,” said Rob Wynkoop, Purdue Associate VP for Administrative Operations. He adds, “Walk-On’s will be an important key in our drive to activate this space. This will be a great gathering spot for students, employees and the entire West Lafayette community. And Drew Brees is involved…what more can we ask for!”
This development announcement comes on the heels of a tremendously strong year for the brand - having just received a growth equity investment from 10 Point Capital while continuing strategic franchise development across the country. Walk-On’s has more than 40 locations open and operating, spanning nine states, with over 150 locations in development. Recent agreements confirm rapid expansion plans as Walk-On’s continues to target strategic franchise development in key markets throughout the Southeast and Midwest.
Popular for being both the go-to place for game day and an eatery known for quality, scratch-made dishes, Walk-On’s has carved its own vertical to best support what fans love most. Whether it be for date night, girl’s-night-out or a family dinner, Walk-On’s is the place for everyone – because everyone needs a little playing time. As the franchise has continued its explosive growth across the country, its strong track record has also garnered national recognition earning the #1 spot in Entrepreneur’s prestigious 2020 Top New Franchises Ranking.
“We are looking forward to bringing this winning concept to the Purdue campus community,” says Jack Donovan, president, Aramark Higher Education. “Walk-On’s great food and fan favorites will enhance the overall dining and gameday experience.”
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