The old-fashioned arcade hasn’t been trendy for a few decades. Now that places like Dave & Buster’s exist, it’s near impossible to find an independent, locally-owned place to enjoy a slice of pizza or other greasy fare while spending all your quarters (or Bitcoins) on the Pac-Man and Terminator machines. In 2016, though, a pair of Frisco restaurants will fuse food and video games in a totally modern way.
As the Dallas Business Journal first reported yesterday, Kristy Pitchford, the wife of Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford will open two unique restaurant concepts on the ground floor of the software development company’s new Frisco headquarters. The aptly named (complete with appropriate programming language) casual eatery @nerdvana.coffee+shop is currently scheduled for a March opening, and full-service restaurant @nerdvana.food+spirits will hopefully open its doors in Summer 2016.
According to Kristy Pitchford, construction on @nerdvana.coffee+shop will hopefully begin in the coming weeks at Gearbox’s spanking-new building in downtown Frisco. "Gearbox only moved in about four weeks ago to the fourth and fifth floors, and that’s the only occupied space in the building, they’re still finishing construction," says Pitchford. "Our pad is almost construction-ready, and we’re in the permitting phase with the city. I anticipate that within the next couple of weeks, we’ll be underway. Maybe I’m being optimistic."
Pitchford’s brother Mike Junio, a chef from San Francisco, made the move to join his sister in Dallas a few years ago as they planned the concepts. Junio will lead the culinary direction of both restaurants, which will have separate entrances and occupy approximately 7,300 square feet in the Gearbox headquarters.
The menu for @nerdvana.food+spirits will focus on "contemporary American fare," with a heavy California influence, though no specific menu items have been set in stone just yet. "We're really focusing on quality dishes, we don't want it to be too over-the-top or cheesy," says Pitchford. "Authenticity is important to us, so celebrating the video game industry and our community is the primary goal."
"We’re still figuring out the flow of the games and the restaurants, because we’re really focused on menu will be really fun and playful," says Pitchford. "We want it to be fun and interesting, almost like an Easter egg in a video game. If you’re a patron that isn’t really super video game-savvy, you’re just having a great meal. But if you know what to look for, you’re going to see really, really cool references."
Gearbox is a privately held, independent software development company founded in 1999 by Randy Pitchford that recently moved its headquarters from Plano to Frisco. It is most well-known by video game enthusiasts for the Borderlands and Brothers In Arms video game franchises, along with owning the intellectual property for popular 1990s video game Duke Nukem. We’re keeping our fingers crossed until next spring for trademarked "heavy barrel" burgers or cyborg-inspired cocktails.