Late last year one of our favorite local restaurants went through a major change, but it was so seamless and clean, you might not have even realized it.
In November of 2019, Josh and Marianne Nassef quietly took over as owners of Eight|11 Place in Frisco’s Rail District. And while sometimes major changes in a restaurant can cause a ripple effect, altering a place until it’s almost unrecognizable, that hasn’t happened here.
Eight|11 is the same little wine bar it’s always been and the Nassef’s plan on keeping it that way.
After sitting down with them at the restaurant, I quickly understood why the transition was so smooth. They have a quiet and unassuming way about them yet still manage to convey confidence and passion for their restaurant and the business without pomp and circumstance.
They somehow fit right in with Eight|11 naturally, as if they created the business themselves. There’s something organic about their fit within those four walls; it’s as if they’ve always been there.
While this is the first venture into the restaurant business for the Nassef’s, it would be a mistake to say they’re inexperienced. For what they lacked in actual restaurant experience, they made up for with careful planning and research.
Owing in part to their twenty-year careers in the Air Force, there’s nothing haphazard about their approach to the business. It’s measured, calculated and smart because they are all of those things and more.
They took their time and studied the business and this market before jumping in. Josh even used his GI Bill, getting his degree first in restaurant management, and then attending the Culinary Institute of America, so he could know his business inside and out.
And while it’s safe to say that we’re partial, it’s clear to us that this hard work on the front end paid off and they chose the restaurant and the town well. Josh and Marianne had a specific checklist when searching for a restaurant to purchase. They wanted something established, and after living all over for the military, they knew they wanted to recreate the feel of a local spot, something welcoming, something that felt like home.
They had a definite idea and worked hard to find it, narrowing their search first to the DFW area and then to Eight 11 Place in Frisco. And once they found it, it didn’t take long for them to fall in love. Josh and Marianne shared,
We wanted a neighborhood restaurant and when we visited Frisco and saw the downtown area, we knew it was just what we were looking for. Nice mix of retail, dining, and residential.
Frisco’s Rail District fit the bill and Eight|11 sealed the deal. They fell in love with the open patio, the historic building, the menu, and the clientele. They were hooked.
They dove in feet first and haven’t looked back since.
But don’t worry, Frisco. The Nassef’s didn’t come to radically reinvent the wheel. Eight|11 was dearly loved, working, and as the age-old saying goes, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” They’re smart and careful and they respect this business and the town.
They fell in love with Eight 11 as-is and know that we do too, so they’re not changing and rearranging. Their intention is to maintain what we love– the impeccable service, the awesome menu, the wine–with just a few small tweaks to make our love affair grow deeper with time.
Carrying on with pride and pleasure.
The menu, you won’t see any major changes there. The Nassef’s recognized that it was already a well-tuned and excellent in its offerings. It’s fun and vibrant and pairs perfectly with the true star of the show, their extensive wine list.
Filled with shareable plates, pizzas, and paninis, there’s something for everyone and to compliment every drink, from the cult favorite White Pinot Noir (more on that later) to a Craft Brew or IPA. And while they aren’t tinkering too much, they’re adding their own specific stamp, allowing the chefs to play and contribute a bit, creating seasonal fare to add on as specials without taking away any of Frisco’s favorites (I’m looking at you, Peachy Pig Pizza).
The wines aren’t changing either. Don’t worry, Frisco. I checked. The cult favorite White Pinot Noir is safe, as the Nassef’s know a good thing when they see one and don’t plan on removing that one anytime soon.
But there have been some new additions here as well, small ones that we’re sure to love.
Marianne loves trying new wines and introducing patrons to different flavors and pairings. She’s open to feedback and even laughs about some of her favorites that Frisco just didn’t really appreciate. She’ll keep trying, though, because she truly loves sharing a good glass of wine with friends and finds joy in introducing us to fun new wines–with a local twist.
We really wanted to add some Texas wines—because Texas! But, also, the Texas wine industry is coming up in prominence in the wine world and there are some really nice wines that taste way above their price point coming out of the Texas high plains. Our rosé, Come and Drink It, is really popular but we’re having a hard time getting people to try some of the other, less “obviously Texas,” wines—don’t be scared, they’re really good!
And the cozy fire pits and patio events we adore? Those are safe too. Eight|11 will continue to be the place in Frisco for live, local music on the best patio in town. And yes, even Bachelor Mondays are safe, though the Nassef’s admit with a laugh that they didn’t quite understand that whole phenomenon when they first took over.
Waiting to Welcome You
As for Josh and Marianne, they are incredible additions to the rail district merchants. They’re open, warm and welcoming. It’s clear that they love their new town and their new restaurant. Eight|11 has become their home, old leaky faucets and multiple trips to Home Depot and all, and this avid Eight|11 Place fan is glad they are at the helm.
I walked away from my conversation with the Nassef’s excited for the future of my favorite spot. I trust Josh and Marianne to honor their new home and the people who love it with every step they take. Eight|11 Place is in good hands, Frisco, and we can be excited about what’s to come for our beloved little restaurant and wine bar on Main.
Monday – Wednesday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Thursday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00 am – (closing time varies according to patio events)
7080 Main Street
Frisco, TX 75034
(Corner of Main St and 6th St)