Friends Corey Goodwin, Ashley Davis and Brad Davis have quite a bit in common. For starters, they each love board games. They also own a local restaurant together.
The concept of Plano’s Friend & Foe on Custer Road came together after co-owner Brad Davis reconsidered his career in teaching. After opening its doors in October 2019, the cafe earned its way into the hearts of Plano’s board game enthusiasts.
Davis took a moment to tell the Plano Star Courier about what makes the business unique and how it's surviving.
Tell me about how the idea for Friend & Foe came about.
On the way home from visiting family, Ashley asked me what I would like to do for a living if I wasn't a teacher. I said that I would like to put two of my favorite things together - coffee and board games - and find a way to turn it into a cafe. Shortly after this I called Corey and asked him to join the team.
We put together the idea of a board game cafe that would serve great food, drinks and have a lot of board games. We wanted a place a true community and engagement, and a board game cafe seemed like the perfect idea.
The restaurant has three owners - how did you all decide to open a small business together?
We all have different strengths. Ashley is a great cook and had a background in the restaurant business, I’m a board game nerd, and Corey has a knack of knowing how to bring people together. We believed this was a pretty good formula to start a business.
We worked together, but relied heavily on each other’s strengths to make Friend & Foe a reality.
We originally tried to open in Fort Worth, but through a few good breaks we decided to open in Plano because of its established board game community.
Can you tell me about the meal donation program?
Our Donate-a-Meal program allows a person to purchase a Friend & Foe Classic Sandwich that is donated to first responders and healthcare workers.
What was the overall feeling between all of you when restaurants in Plano were ordered to close dining rooms in March?
Initially we thought it would be a short shutdown and we would just need to tighten our belt and make it through a couple of rough weeks. When we began to realize the full impact of COVID on the cafe we had feelings of panic, fear and frustration.
However, we have remained hopeful because we believe in this business and community that we've built around it.
Restaurants tend to bring people together, but yours goes a step further. What can board games offer to guests during this time?
Board games offer a fun way to interact with others. They are more than just entertainment; they offer a way to engage with others.
In a world where so much takes place over social media and email, a board game brings people together for real-life fun.
What are some of the games people can find in the restaurant?
We have over 500 games in the collection. There are classic games you grew up with, party games for large groups, and strategy games that range from light to heavy.
What are your favorites?
My favorites are Eclipse, Wingspan, X-Wing Miniatures, Dominion and Catan. Ashley’s are Terra Mystica, Star Realms, Dominion, Power Grid and Catan. Corey’s are Carcasonne, Tiny Epic Galaxies, Robo Rally, Bunny Kingdom and Dominion.
What are you looking forward to right now?
Being a place that thrives off of community and people gathering together, we are looking forward to some level of normalcy. We're not planning on going anywhere, so we are going to fight for what we have built.