Step into the heart of the action and flavor at Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, where passion for sports meets culinary excellence. Join us on a journey through the sights, sounds, and tastes that make Walk-On's an unmatched destination for sports enthusiasts and foodies alike. From the crack of the bat to the sizzle of Cajun spices, prepare to immerse yourself in the ultimate game day experience

The Dining Divas & Dudes braved the Purdue campus to sample the offerings at Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux. It’s part of the sprawling below-ground restaurant complex in the Purdue Union, run by Aramark, that includes sushi, poke, pizza, Mexican, vegan, vegetarian, ramen, Middle Eastern, and more. Walk-On’s occupies the space that was the home of Pappy’s Sweet Shoppe for nearly a century, which featured diner food and famous milkshakes, so we are dubbing it Purdue’s Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux. (Please note: Visitors are welcome to park in the Grant Street Parking Garage, and walk across the street or take a tunnel underneath into the Purdue Memorial Union.)

Walk-on's Sports Bistreaux

Walk-On’s is a chain, started in 2003 by two LSU basketball players, Brandon Landry and Jack Warner, who were, guess what? Walk-ons. A more famous sports figure and Purdue Alum, Drew Brees, bought into the successful restaurant concept, and it has thrived. The theme is Cajun, but there are other options (if you are crazy!) To tie Walk-On’s to the legacy of its location, Pappy’s famous milkshakes are on the menu. Still made with Glover’s ice cream, you can get them in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or Oreo. Other things that differentiate Purdue’s Walk-on’s from others in the chain are a signature cocktail called Pete’s Punch served in a special Purdue/Walk-On’s branded cup that is yours to keep, and People's Brewing Boiler Black or Boiler Gold, both in cans and on tap.

A salute to the Walk-On’s founders—they started the ‘Game On Foundation’, a non-profit organization that aims to improve and support youth sports across the country by funding projects to restore and refurbish sports facilities and provide equipment. Please look it up.

We were excited to be seated in Pappy’s booth, a blast from the past complete with a century’s worth of carved graffiti surrounded by the original Pappy’s neon sign and wall mural. Whitney couldn’t resist carving our name into the booth and luckily Iseral had a knife handy, so the Dining Divas & Dudes are immortalized at Purdue’s Walk-On’s.

Walk-on's Sports Bistreaux

We started our feast off with Boudin Balls and Spinach & Artichoke Dip. The Boudin Balls were a blend of spicy pork and rice, very hot and crispy, with a ranch type sauce. The dip came with tortilla chips and was covered with a broiled cheese crust, very rich and yummy. We soon found out that the portions are so generous, we might not have needed the appetizers. We were disappointed to learn that alligator is not on the menu at Indiana Walk-On’s. It shows up on the website, but we’re not close enough to the swamp for fresh alligator meat.

One of Iseral’s favorites is on the menu, Crawfish Etouffee, so he pounced on that before anyone else could claim it. Etouffee means ‘smothered’ in French, and is a classic way of preparing seafood in Louisiana, a thick spicy sauce of onions, peppers, celery, garlic, Cajun seasonings mixed in a roux served over rice. Iseral added some hot sauce and loved that there was lots of crawfish.

Walk-on's Sports Bistreaux

Another classic Cajun dish, Chicken & Sausage Gumbo, caught Ken’s eye. A dash of hot sauce did the trick and Ken licked his plate clean.  

Jo got the Sweet Chili Salmon, which came with green beans, the perfect Jo dish with hardly any carbs. Salmon cooked just the way she likes it and the freshest of green beans. The sweet chili sauce added tang, but wasn’t too hot.

Tetia ordered Catfish Atchafalaya. The catfish can be blackened or fried and Tetia picked fried. Served with rice and crawfish etouffee, it was an impressive presentation. This meal defeated Tetia and she took a lot of it home with her. Interestingly, Atchafalaya may be a Cajun dish, but it’s not a Cajun word. It derives from a Choctaw term meaning long river, and the Atchafalaya River Basin is America’s largest floodplain swamp, even bigger than the Everglades. Don’t say you haven't learn anything from the Dining Divas & Dudes!

Sliders are Whitney’s weakness, so when she saw them on the menu, she was hooked. You can choose 2 of their 3 offerings and she got Buffalo Chicken and Jalapeño Jack. Next time, she’ll get 2 Jalapeño Jacks, it was so good. Juicy, delicious and a sauce to die for.

Walk-on's Sports Bistreaux

Jerry had the Cali Wrap. (Cali for California we were told). Turkey, bacon, cheese, lots of veggies in a green flour tortilla wrap. He made it through half and took the rest home for later.

Cajundilla was too intriguing for Kay to pass up. A huge meal, including waffle fries (we all liked these), this quesadilla featured andouille sausage, chicken, boudin, caramelized onions, and jack cheese. What more could you want? The andouille gave it a pleasant kick. Order this to share with your best pal.

Walk-on's Sports Bistreaux

Summer is coming soon. Fewer students on campus will mean easier access to Walk-On’s and all the other options at Purdue Memorial Union. Look for our signature in Pappy’s Booth!