Lance Clayton’s grandparents’ house was a place of community and tradition. Located at 811 Seven Oaks Road in Bonham, the house was a gathering place for Lance’s family, his wife Ursula said.
“It was always, ‘Let’s go over to 811.’ It was never, ‘Let’s go over to my grandparents’ house,’” Ursula said.
Ursula also had a close relationship with her grandfather, who died in August 2011. When she realized he had died in the eighth month of 2011, she said she knew eight|11 Place was the perfect name for her and Lance’s restaurant.
“To me, it’s awesome because it links both families in the same area that we’re wanting to promote this space as this community place, this place where you could build memories, this place where you could interact with one another and enjoy your time,” Ursula said.
eight|11 Place opened in 2012. Lance and Ursula started the restaurant after moving from Austin and wanting to find an eatery that had the Austin vibe, Ursula said.
“Nothing around here really had it,” she said. “So we just decided, ‘Why not do it ourselves?’”
The Claytons were on a budget when they opened eight|11 Place, so many features of the restaurant are handmade, Ursula said. For instance, the tables are handmade and the light fixtures inside the restaurant are made from Mason jars. Some of the artwork and furniture also comes from Ursula’s mother.
When deciding what to put on the menu, Ursula said she and her husband were inspired by some of their favorite restaurants in Austin.
“We wanted to keep it simple, and my husband loves to cook,” she said. “We all chipped in with what we thought would go well together, and we just started experimenting at our house with different types of food.”
About half of eight|11 Place’s menu is composed of flatbreads, including one called “Lela,” a flatbread with smoked salmon that is named for Ursula’s grandmother.
For the wine menu, Ursula and Lance work with different distributers that bring in various wines for the couple to try.
“They know our style,” Ursula said. “We let them know what we’re looking for, but we really let them bring in whatever they think we like. If we like it, we’ll sell it. If we don’t like it, we won’t have it.”
Ursula said when people step into eight|11 Place, she wants them to feel the charm and the friendliness of the environment. She said the venue is small, intimate and the perfect place for people to sit and talk for hours.
Once, Ursula said she saw two couples who had never met before strike up a conversation at the restaurant. A few months later, the two couples returned to the restaurant together having become friends and seeing each other on a regular basis.
“We just want them to build memories here,” Ursula said. “… That is my favorite part about this whole thing is being able to be the source of new friendships.”