Arby’s Opens a Steakhouse Named After LaDainian Tomlinson (for One Day)

NYC pop-up promotes the new Petite Filet Steak Sandwich

LaDainian Tomlinson in an Arby
LaDainian Tomlinson’s Arby’s Steakhouse turns the fast food brand's location in Manhattan into a steakhouse for a day. Arby's
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

Multiple steakhouses have been opened by pro football players, and soon LaDainian Tomlinson will join the likes of Vince Young, John Elway and Mike Ditka with his own branded restaurant as part of a new campaign from Arby’s.

To promote the fast food chain’s new Petite Filet Steak Sandwiches, the brand has partnered with Tomlinson, a former NFL player and Pro Football Hall of Famer, to turn the Arby’s location in Midtown Manhattan into a high-end steakhouse on Thursday, Nov. 7.

LaDainian Tomlinson’s Arby’s Steakhouse, open only for one day, brings to life the campaign for the new menu item. Ahead of the opening, agency Fallon created two TV spots that depict guests dining at Tomlinson’s Arby’s-branded steakhouse.

The pop-up redesigned the Arby’s at 611 Eighth Ave. to have Tomlinson’s name on the door, along with linen tablecloths and napkins, plus votive candles to create an intimate, steakhouse-style ambience. Guests can order the two new menu items, which are the Garlic Butter Steak Sandwich and the Steak and Bacon Melt.

Tomlinson also will be at the pop-up from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a meet-and-greet after a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“This is a phenomenal steak sandwich,” said Deborah Von Kutzleben, vice president of advertising, content and core menu for Arby’s. “So, to tell the world how good our new Petite Filet Steak Sandwiches are, we followed the playbook used by generations of fine American steakhouses and put a former athlete’s name on our front door.”

Consumers can RSVP for the pop-up on Arby’s website or via a Facebook event. Arby’s partnered with Fallon, Edelman, Moxie and Zenith for the activation. Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.