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story.lead_photo.caption Customers Friday got an early look at Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux while the staff went through the final rounds of training before Monday's grand opening. Photo by Junius Stone / Texarkana Gazette.

Walk-On's Sports Bistreaux, after months of building, hiring and training, put the staff through the final phases of preparation and testing on Friday.

Some customers got an early chance to sample the Cajun and creole cuisine as well as the ambiance.

"We gave tickets out to these customers to allow them an early taste of what we do. Also, this gives our staff live training, to work out the bugs and to make sure we are ready for Monday's official grand opening," said Brandon Thompson, one of the owners of the Texarkana franchise. "This is standard procedure for Walk-On's."

Three months ago, management began assembling the staff in earnest. The training officially began last Saturday. Thursday and Friday, the mock shifts began, with the staff training with customers.

"This is going better than we expected," Thompson said. "The kitchen crew has been doing well, as well as floor staff, front and back. So far, customer feedback is positive."

Corporate management was present, overseeing the exercise.

"They've been helpful in getting us prepared," Thompson said.

"We are ready."

"This is fantastic," said Billy Nielsen, front house bar manager. "Walk-On's is exactly what Texarkana needs. This is a beautiful focal point, a gathering for celebrations, big sporting events, birthdays, this is what we strive to do. We provide a big game-day experience along with a taste of Louisiana. All the flavors and seasonings, what Louisiana is known for. Our all-American crew plans on being a big part of Texarkana for years to come."

Customers seemed pleased at the new place.

"This is absolutely wonderful," said Clifford Seaton of DeKalb. "The atmosphere is first rate, as is the cold beer."

"I think this is going to be good for Texarkana," said Sue Wormington of Redwater. "Good food, hanging out with friends."

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