Updated
Aug 27th, 2019
First Posted
Sep 1st, 2018

Walk-Ons Bistreaux & Bar

6401 N Andrews Ave
Fort Lauderdale FL, 33309
(954) 845-3800
Overall Rating
2.5
Food
Service
Ambiance
Value
Last Review
08/27/2019

Details

Hours: 11am-11pm, Open till 12am Fri-Sat
Dress Code: Casual
Parking: Private Lot
CC: Yes
Alcohol: Full Bar
HasWifi: Yes
Wifi password: None
Outdoor: No

Pros

Better Than Champs
Lot's of TVs
Lots of Booths

Cons

Fast Cajun Food
Incompetent Service

Critic's Review

Walk-Ons opened Monday, and I usually don't review restaurants on their 2nd day open. But with Football season just a week away, checking out a major new sports bar seems appropriate. People need to know their options.

I didn't want to sit at the bar, but I did want to check it out. There's a smallish square bar with 2 levels of TVs; the problem is you can't see the inner TVs if you're standing, and you can't see the outer TVs if your sitting.

There are some regular booths on the side, and some edgy booths with taps as well. I've never felt the need to have a tap at my table. With a competent server it shouldn't be necessary.

It's the first week, so when you walk in all the cheery hostesses yell out a greeting. This phenomenon usually lasts about 10 days. They first tried to seat me at a freestanding table, but with tons of booths I asked for a booth. She then walked me past multiple empty booths to perhaps the worst table in the city of Fort Lauderdale, in the back corner, right next to the mens room, with a fabulous view of the area where all of the serves and busboys congregated.

The table itself was comfortable, and I thought I might get to see the bowels of the operation, so I didn't complain. Note to management: With a room full of booths available, the tables back here should never be used for customers. This is where the servers should sit at lunch.

I was immediately greeted by my server, who was cheerful and perhaps the most inept restaurant server I've ever encountered. I ordered an unsweetened tea (they have sweet tea, so make sure you specify) with extra lemon, and she brought me tea with 1 skinny lemon wedge. I made a joke about it, and apparently she thought I was kidding. "Could you get me some more, please"?

She sped off and at this point I realized that there was hardly any ice in the tea and it was warm. So when she returned I asked he for some ice.

So instead of bringing me a glass of ice, she brought another tea with 1 wedge of lemon. She grabbed the initial tea with the lemon and I had to stop her from taking it away. "Just leave them both, I'll figure it out". The initial amusement was starting to get annoying.

I'd spent some time reading reviews of their Louisiana restaurants, because I figure they know more about Cajun food than South Floridians. It appears that only a few do. All of the shrimp and crawfish here is deep fried, which isn't authentic. The Boudin Balls were universally panned (Boudin is something Louisianans know about); so the choices were limited. I ordered a cup of gumbo and the Chicken Jack sandwich, which seemed to be a Dirty Bird with bacon. My server was confused as to whether the gumbo could be subbed as a side. She didn't seem to know that the sides were on the back of the menu.

One of the gimmicks here is that everything is spelled wrong, like Bistreaux and Etou-ways. Not sure why that's fun or interesting.

The big thing in a sports bar are the TVs, and I think they really blew it here. TVs are in bad spots; along the wall, over the booths; so that there's no great spot to watch a particular game.

There were 2 TVs on the back wall that had exactly 2 seats in position to watch them. I'm not really sure what the planners were thinking here.

Wi-Fi also matters; on NFL Sundays people bring their laptops and tablets so they can track their fantasy teams and monitor all the stats. This place has a pretty slow connection for a place this size, so things could get a bit clunky if you don't have the LTE package.

Of course the soup and sandwich came out together, because nobody would want to have the soup while waiting for the sandwich. They came out 14 minutes after ordering.

The gumbo actually looked the way gumbo should look, and appeared to have the correct ingredients.

However it didn't taste like gumbo; it was totally bland. No spice, no seasoning. No kick. It didn't have that roux taste. Just a bowl of brown stuff.

There were no seasonings to fix the soup; tabasco isn't what you need to fix gumbo.

The chicken sandwich was sort of line a big mac with blackened chicken and bacon.

The sandwich was delicious, but it was built for looking at rather than eating. The bacon was kind of hanging out of the side to make it look like more, and the thin layers of chicken patties insisted on sliding off the bread. It was a very complicated and messy sandwich to eat.

Very good though; I recommend it with lot of extra napkins. The waffle fries were pedestrian and not worth the calories; I left most of them on the plate.

One great thing about this table was that I got to watch all of the servers milling around. A real treat.

I asked for my check and my server asked if I wanted a take-home iced tea. She was going to get me another one (I had a full glass left on the table). "Why not just get me a cup with ice".

Conclusion

When this place was Champps, it was a terrible layout; a big room with TVs too high on the walls and a sunken bar with older TVs. Walk-ons has completely remodeled, but I think they've made some mistakes. For NFL Sundays, you need good standing room, because the booths fill up early. This place doesn't have good standing room. In the bar people at booths will have people standing in their way. You might have trouble watching multiple games here. And the TVs in the dining room seem to be misplaced. The entire row of TVs over the booths are only viewable easily from a couple of tables. I just don't get the impression that this is going to be a great place to watch the games; Am I going to have to stand in the corner to watch my game of choice?

The food is typical sports bar without wings (sorry but boneless wings aren't actually chicken wings); but probably enough bar food choices to keep people satisfied. You can always get a burger if alligator bites aren't your thing.

Previous Musings

Perhaps the worst named restaurant in the history of restaurants is taking over the space previously occupied by Champps. Walk-ons is a sports bar concept brought to us by Drew Brees and his partner who was a Walk On college basketball player. For those of you non-sports fans, a "walk on" is a player who wasn't recruited and who didn't get a scholarship who tried out and made the team.

What baffles me is why a professional athlete who has made over $100M would want to be associated with a bad chain restaurant simply to make more money? Why don't people who have a lot of money just want to do something good; something better than others?

Walk-ons appears to be closer to Joes Crab Shack than any restaurant you'd find in New Orleans; with a menu that caters to the lowest common denominator of society.

This is a franchise operation; It costs about $2M to open one of these; I wonder if the owner understands that this area is M-F lunch spot?

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Note that most of the online reviews for this place are pre-opening, so people most likely weren't paying.

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