New Texas gaming cafe + restaurant inspired by Aussie Mana Bar

Australia’s Mana Bar may have closed its doors, but its legacy lives on, in another country on the other side of the world. A new cafe and restaurant – @nerdvana.food+spirits and @nerdvana.coffee+shop – is opening early next year in Texas, downstairs from Gearbox Software’s new home.

Kristy Pitchford and brother Mike Junio of @nerdvana

Kristy Pitchford and brother Mike Junio of @nerdvana

The idea is the brainchild of Kristy Pitchford, who will work with her brother Mike Junio, a chef from San Francisco. Kristy was toying with the idea of opening a restaurant several years ago, while her husband, Gearbox founder Randy Pitchford was away on long business trips. One of those trips took him to Brisbane, Australia, where Gearbox showcased the infamous Duke Nukem Forever at the local Mana Bar, a cocktail bar and video gaming lounge (we happened to be at the event too).

After hearing Randy wax lyrical about the Aussie innovation, Kristy tells Dallas Business Journal she was inspired:

We just melded the two ideas. Let’s do a restaurant but make it a video game bar!

Things didn’t progress quite as quickly as Pitchford and Junio might have liked, as Gearbox took its time finding a new office space in Frisco, Texas. Happily, the new perfect space also included “prime spots” on the ground floor, perfect for the restaurant + cafe. (The two businesses will be adjacent but separate, with individual entrances but a connecting door.)

Kristy is quick to explain the concept:

We’re not creating an arcade; it’s more a glorification of gaming.
Kind of like how a Hard Rock Café celebrates music, we would celebrate games.

…and just like a Hard Rock Café down the road from a concert venue, @nerdvana.food+spirits and @nerdvana.coffee+shop are conveniently positioned near the National Video Game Museum, but the games don’t stop there.

Junio’s planned menu will be “contemporary American” with definite Californian flavours, serving lunch and dinner. Diners are invited to pick up a control pad alongside their meal.

The café, on the other hand, is even more hands-on. Pitchford has plans for a lending library, where guests can play (and maybe purchase!) board games.

@nerdvana.coffee+shop is set to open in March, while @nerdvana.food+spirits will follow soon after. Both are located at 5757 Main Street, Frisco, TX. Drop by if you’re in the neighbourhood – tell ’em Player Attack says hi!

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