Despite challenges, Shadow LAN Gaming Cafe co-owner Thomas Radecki has continued to keep his business alive and well in Richardson for the better part of two decades.

As a self-described “big PC gamer” in the ‘90s and early 2000s, Radecki frequented a lot of local area network, or LAN, computer gaming cafes with his friends throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. When he launched Shadow LAN in 2004, he said he incorporated the best elements from his experiences into the business. Located near the intersection of Belt Line and Coit roads, Radecki said Shadow LAN has been blessed to be at “the second- or third-biggest intersection in the area.”

“You can either have your business in a location where you need to spend a ton of money advertising, or you can put your business where the people are going,” he said.

On top of working behind the counter, Radecki is in charge of making sure the center’s games, computers and technology are all working. He said one of the center’s biggest strengths is that he is able to operate everything by himself.

“If you can’t do everything yourself, don’t open a LAN center,” he said. “For those really hard times, you need to be able to do everything yourself, from building the PCs to upgrading all of the software and running the general business operations.”

The center has a catalog of more than 30 games to choose from, with several of its top titles being member favorites, Radecki said.

“Realistically, there are about five to seven games that do almost 93% of all your business,” he said. “The other ones are kind of fringe games that are played every once in a while. You could virtually run a center with about seven games.”

Shadow LAN’s top games include first-person shooters as well as multiplayer online battle arenas.

Shadow LAN also offers a monthly membership that saves patrons 40% off the hourly rate. Radecki said he prefers offering the membership model as it incentivizes return trips.

“You want your membership to be used for people who are going to frequent you,” he said. “If your membership undersells your current prices, you’re not maximizing profits off of it, and that’s what I tend to see in the industry.”

Shadow LAN Gaming Cafe

300 N. Coit Road, Ste. 175, Richardson


Hours: Mon.-Thu. 1-11 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 1 p.m.-1 a.m., Sun. 3:30-11 p.m.