Muscle Shoals, AL., March 5, 2017 /Times Daily/– Aretha’s Franklin, Yellerbelly, El Guapo and all their companions now are thriving on both sided of the river.
The Pie Factory, a locally owned downtown Florence restaurant whose menu choices carry those and other names, traveled to Muscle Shoals to open its second restaurant a month ago, and the owners are happy with their decision.
“It’s been successful,” said Nick Franks, who along with Mike Alonso and Randy Alred are business partners. “We can tell you this area’s hospitality is Shoals wide, not just a Florence thing.”
The restaurant is at Woodward Avenue and Sixth Street next to Publix.
Franks said the journey to this point started in 2013 after he and a group of friends took over a coffee shop at the 106 N. Court St. location that eventually would become the Pie Factory. That was where they discovered they were good hands at making pizza.
“We were highly caffeinated one day and decided to try to make some pizza and the pizzas turned out good,” Franks said. “We started sharing them with friends.”
That motivated them to establish the Pie Factory. In doing so, the group, who also own On The Rocks next door on Court Street, came up with a variety of pizzas and a creative assortment of names for them.
“We sat down and had these pizza recipes and didn’t have names for them,” Franks said. “We were a few days from when we knew we were going to have to go to print on the menus.
“We sat down in a brainstorming session for about two hours and we came up with them. Since then we’ve added and taken some away. Typically, if an employee comes up with a food, we let him or her name it.”
In fact, the Pie Factory has a wings selection called the James Brown that actually is named for the worker who came up with it instead of the famous singer, Franks said.
He said that is part of the restaurant’s goal of maintaining a light atmosphere.
“We always try to keep it upbeat,” Franks said. “We believe that our attitude will trickle down to the employees and that experience projects out the customers. If you’re not having fun working, you need to find something else.”
The two restaurants are similar in size, about 3,600 square feet, and have 40 to 50 employees at each location. Franks said Florence has been good to the restaurant and he could tell the decision to expand into Muscle Shoals was a good one even while it was under construction.
“The entire time we were building, people were coming by and sticking their head in the door and telling us how happy they were to have us on their side of the river,” he said. “That just made us feel good about what we were doing.”
Source Times Daily