With an eye toward national expansion of its Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar chain of sports bars, Baton Rouge-based restaurant group Last in Concepts announced its partnership with RF Development.
Rick Farrell, owner of RF Development, will become joint owner of Last in Concepts, which owns and operates four other concepts in the Bayou State in addition to Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. The other establishments are Happy’s Irish Pub, The Roux House, Schlittz & Giggles, and Walk-On’s Catering.
This latest development follows the May hiring of chef Jeremy Coco, who became the company's first director of culinary operations and oversees menu development for all Walk-On restaurants. The chain was already entrenched in refining its menu, once considered very mediocre, by adding in home state classics like fried pickles and crawfish étouffée, to traditional bar food offerings such as burgers and cheese fries.
The payoff came in October 2012, when ESPN named Walk-On’s Poydras Street location in New Orleans, near the Superdome, the “Best Sports Bar in North America.” The accolades included the restaurant's unique Louisiana-inspired menu and impressive food and beer section.
Last in Concepts founders Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, both walk-ons with Louisiana State University’s basketball team, hatched the idea of opening a sports bar in the university’s environs while in college. The teammates drew the first concept for the restaurant on a napkin during a plane ride home from an away game.
In September, Landry and Warner celebrated the 10th anniversary of the opening of their first Walk-On’s site.
“I’ve known and admired both Brandon and Jack for years, and I’ve been duly impressed by the way they’ve built Walk-On’s, Happy’s and their other concepts into such powerful Louisiana brands,” says Farrell, a fellow LSU alumnus from New Orleans.
“I’m convinced, though, that they’ve only scratched the surface with their restaurants, and I’m looking forward to helping build Last In Concepts into one of the finest operators in the industry," he says.
Farrell is now equal partners with Landry, purchasing Warner’s interest in Last In Concepts. Roux House, a live music joint, and Schlittz& Giggles, a pizza restaurant, were spun off to Warner, who is now sole owner of the two venues. Warner remains a minority partner in Last In Concepts.