Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar co-founder and co-owner Brandon Landry has acquired Happy’s Irish Pub downtown from his restaurant chain’s parent company, Walk-On’s Enterprises. Terms of the deal, which closed Wednesday, were not disclosed.
Landry says he has a sentimental attachment to Happy’s, which he co-founded 10 years ago with his former business partner, Jack Warner, and that it was important to him that he continue to personally own the Third Street bar. But he says it makes more financial and operational sense to spin it off from the parent company of his rapidly growing sports bar and restaurant chain than to keep it under the same umbrella.
“We’re growing Walk-On’s to a national brand,” he says. “So I just wanted to make sure we streamline our focus in the office and keep everybody’s attention on the big prize and growing Walk-On’s.”
Regular patrons of Happy’s likely won’t notice any changes following the sale, as the bar’s management team will remain in place. But in the coming year, Landry says he hopes to bring a food truck to Happy’s popular beer garden patio, which was recently improved with a fountain and landscaping.
“We have such a great little spot with this beer garden and we have all these cool neighbors,” Landry says. “So we’re mapping out our future plans of growing the food side of this business.”
Happy’s does about $1.5 million in sales a year. In the 10 years since it opened at 136 Third St., downtown’s restaurant and nightlife scene has changed dramatically. Landry believes there’s still plenty of additional growth potential for the market.
“Ten years ago there was nothing down here and now you walk down here on a Friday night and everything is happening,” he says. “It’s a great scene.”
The New Orleans location of Happy’s, which is located near the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, was not included in the sale. The franchise group that owns the adjacent Walk-On’s in New Orleans also acquired the Happy’s location several years ago.