eight11 Place reopening helps give downtown Frisco sense of 'coming back,' co-owner says

eight11 Place was able to bring back all of its employees who wanted to come back from furlough, the owners said. (Courtesy eight11 Place)
eight11 Place was able to bring back all of its employees who wanted to come back from furlough, the owners said. (Courtesy eight11 Place)

eight11 Place was able to bring back all of its employees who wanted to come back from furlough, the owners said. (Courtesy eight11 Place)

Image description
eight11 Place recently introduced its Frisco Chicken pizza. (Courtesy eight11 Place)
Image description
Downtown Frisco eatery eight11 Place offered takeout and delivery throughout the coronavirus stay-at-home orders. (Courtesy eight11 Place)
Image description
An eight11 Place staff member makes a pizza. (Courtesy eight11 Place)
Image description
Staff at eight11 Place plan to continue the restaurant's curbside pickup service. (Courtesy eight11 Place)
When eight11 Place reopened its dining room and patio May 1, co-owner Josh Nassef said it felt like things were getting back to normal.

Operating at 25% capacity, the downtown Frisco wine bar and restaurant is limiting seating to 10 people inside and just seven tables on its patio. But the live music the eatery is known for hosting added a sense of normalcy to the atmosphere, Nassef said.

“People that were walking down the street would kind of stop for a minute and listen to the band, [while] hanging outside of the fence to maintain social distance,” Nassef said. “It just kind of gave the neighborhood, in my opinion and I think most other people's opinions, almost a vibe of ‘we’re coming back.’”

Nassef said the restaurant was mostly at capacity that first weekend after reopening and has already been booking reservations several weeks in advance.

“We were very thankful and appreciative of everyone's support,” Nassef said. “Everyone was thanking us for opening up. That was nice to see that people were coming out and supporting us and socializing in an appropriate way.”

While eight11 regulars are used to enjoying musical acts four days a week, he said the business has suspended music on Wednesdays until more seating is allowed by the state.

When Gov. Greg Abbott announced that restaurants could reopen for dining May 1, Nassef said he and his staff were initially caught off guard.

“We had people calling for reservations before Gov. Abbott left the stage,” Nassef said. “We were expecting it to be another week down the road or so.”

Another wrinkle the business had to deal with was the fact that Nassef’s wife and fellow co-owner, Marianne Nassef, was out of the state on military reserve duty the weekend the restaurant reopened.

“I missed her,” Josh Nassef said with a laugh. “It was a lot of work in a very short amount of time. And thank goodness we had we received the [Paycheck Protection Program loan], so I was able to grab some staff and put them into different roles to help get us back ready to go.”

Nassef said the federal loan allowed eight11 to bring back all of its employees who wanted to come back from furlough. The restaurant plans to continue its curbside pickup service, but Nassef said the business needed to reopen for dining to survive.

“[Curbside] was not keeping us anywhere near what our previous revenue was,” he said. “That's not the model that eight11 was built around. And it's not the model that can support us and sustain us.”

To keep everyone safe, the restaurant co-owner said he has staff answer health questionnaires before clocking in. And while everyone wears gloves while working with and delivering food, Nassef said they are not wearing masks.

“It doesn't present a comfortable environment if the person taking your order is wearing a mask,” Nassef said. “We make sure that our staff is healthy—we’re verifying that first.”

He said restaurant staff also wash their hands “constantly,” which is not all that different than before the coronavirus pandemic.

“Nothing that we do really has changed—to quote an old Spinal Tap [line]–we've just turned it up to 11,” Nassef said. “Standard operating procedures are based around the health and safety of the customers. As a neighborhood restaurant, we want to make sure that our neighborhood is safe, that our customers are safe, that our staff are safe and we can leave this behind us and continue to go forward.”
By William C. Wadsack
William C. Wadsack is the senior reporter for the Plano and Richardson editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor of several daily and weekly publications in North Texas and his native state of Louisiana before joining Community Impact Newspaper in 2019.


The Texas Central rail connection from Dallas to Houston will feature a bullet train similar to this one. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas Supreme Court declines to review high-speed rail case, freeing company up to use eminent domain

Texas Central, the company looking to build a 236-mile high-speed rail line connecting Houston and Dallas, has been given a big win in an ongoing legal battle over whether the company is legally recognized as a "railroad company" under state law.

Frisco confirmed another mosquito pool that tested positive for West Nile virus. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Frisco set to spray for mosquitoes June 19-21

The spraying will occur to the west and south of Northwest Community Park.

Hand pulling slice of pizza from a box
Romeo's Pizza arrives in Frisco

Romeo's Pizza brought its cuisine to the Lone Star State this month. The chain's first Texas location is in Frisco.

Bojangles recently announced it signed a franchise agreement to open a new location in Richardson. (Courtesy Bojangles)
Bojangles fried chicken coming to Richardson; bar and grill opens at Grapevine golf course and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Perry's Steakhouse in Frisco set for summer renovations

Perry's Steakhouse in Frisco is brightening up their dining experience just in time for summer.

George A. Purefoy Municipal Center (Matt Payne/Community Impact Newspaper)
Frisco's first, only city manager George Purefoy projected to retire next year, city says

Purefoy has overseen execution of laws and the day-to-day administrative affairs for 34 years.

Three Empires Brewing Co. is projected to open this fall at the Main Street Food Hall, 9145 John W. Elliott Drive, Frisco. (Courtesy Three Empires Brewing Co.)
Three Empires Brewing Co. eyes fall opening in Frisco’s Main Street Food Hall

The brewery will have indoor seating and a large, outside patio and beer garden behind the building.

Mesero has six locations across the metroplex, with a seventh on the way in Southlake. (Courtesy Mesero)
Tex-Mex restaurant may come to Southlake; African fusion eatery opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Nerdvana Frisco completed renovations in May at 5757 Main St., Ste. 112, Frisco. (Courtesy Nerdvana Frisco)
Nerdvana Frisco renovates, adds second bar

The newly renovated space now features a second bar complete with video game options and more space for tabletop gaming.

Gidi Bar & Grill is now open in Frisco. (Courtesy Gidi Bar & Grill)
Gidi Bar & Grill opens in west Frisco

The restaurant serves African fusion meals and a full bar with music and an entertaining atmosphere.