Dine Downtown – The Pie Factory

By Stephen Edmonds

Customers know it makes a notable difference when a restaurant has every part of their business fine tuned to the molecular level.  Such a feat entails consistently nailing the aspects specific to your storefront and in the Pie Factory’s case they do so with ease.  Everything from the gourmet pizza to the rustic décor and the beautiful historic building that ties it all together is down to a science.  As an added bonus, this business is part of the impressive armada of storefronts on Court Street in gorgeous downtown Florence Alabama.  With all of this in mind, it’s obvious that the list of pros and cons is stacked heavily on the positive side when it comes to deciding whether or not to eat here, and that definitely explains why everyone loves the Pie Factory. 

From the moment you open the door and see the cute hand crafted banjo made out of a pizza box hanging on the wall, anyone with common sense can tell this experience is going to be a good one.  The rural charm is evident from the decorative entryway to each mason-jar chandelier that lights the beautiful wood floors of the interior.  The Pie Factory even boasts a scenic outdoor patio area that is pet friendly during the summer.  

An important area of high-end restaurants that is often crowded, strained, and cluttered is the bar; but once again, this is an area where the Pie Factory excels.  Sporting a wide array of drink options and presented in a layout that’s uncluttered and easy on the eyes, the bar area aesthetically adds to the overall ambience of the establishment which isn’t an easy thing for restaurants with high in and out traffic to do.  It’s really the small things like this that let you know that a restaurant really has their business down to a science.  

Now we come to the cornerstone of all great restaurants, the food!  In the Pie Factory’s case, their unique pizza recipes have captivated their hometown’s residents for years.  Ask anyone on the streets of downtown Florence what their favorite Pie Factory pizza is and they will all have a unique answer.  My personal favorite is the ranch based El Guapo because I love that rich heat, but I won’t even waste time going into detail on each of their pizzas because my words simply can’t do any of them justice.  Simply put, there’s something for everyone at this extraordinary eatery; you’ve got to try it for yourself!  

First Fridays March 2018

Join us as we kick off First Fridays for 2018! We’ll have dozens of arts and crafts vendors lining Court Street, downtown restaurants and shops will be open, plus live music on the Big River Broadcasting Stage. We’ll also be celebrating the Florence Bicentennial.

Music lineup:
5pm – Emmalee Martinez
6pm – Barry Billings
7pm – Coffee Black

First Fridays is presented by Listerhill Credit Union and is a committee of Downtown Florence Unlimited.

Chocolate Crawl 2018 Recap

 

Just a bit more than a week before Valentine’s Day, Florence Main Street hosted our 4th Annual Chocolate Crawl! This year was just as great as the rest with delicious chocolate treats that were to die for and new businesses to visit as well as our returning favorites!

Tickets this year sold out 3 days before the event and even though it was cold out, we had a great crowd!  We saw so many new faces and heard a lot of positive feedback from the patrons.  Many of them said it was the best year yet!

On top of that, ticket holders enjoyed 15% off their purchases as well as a chocolate treat at participating businesses. Grier Insurance even gave away dinner for 2 at Ricatoni’s to one lucky winner!

This year’s chocolate treat winner was Cloth & Stone with their Chocolate Wine Cake!  Great job to the Cloth & Stone team, we heard crawlers raving about that treat and the store it was in all day.

A very close second was Miss Beth’s Tailoring and Alterations with their Oreo Bon Bons!  Miss Beth’s was a first time participant in the crawl this year and nearly clenched the victory, so congratulations to all involved; everyone seemed very impressed.  

A few honorable mentions this year were North Alabama Chiropractic’s Chocolate Covered Bacon, Jack O’ Lantern Farm’s Mocha Turnovers, and Printers and Stationer’s Mini Cannoli’s, but there were many more amazing treats as well that were very well made and well received.

We can’t thank the participants enough.  The bar had already been set high by the previous years and the ball was still knocked out of the park by each and every one of you!  

If you missed out this year, don’t worry; there’s always next year! If you love bacon, be on the lookout for our Bacon Fest in June that will include our annual Bacon Crawl!

Tailwagger Tuesday

When you buy a pint your pup gets free dog treats every Tuesday from 4:00pm – 9:00pm!

Tailwagger Tuesday

When you buy a pint your pup gets free dog treats every Tuesday from 4:00pm – 9:00pm!

Tailwagger Tuesday

When you buy a pint your pup gets free dog treats every Tuesday from 4:00pm – 9:00pm!

George Lindsey Film Festival

Nominated by Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast for the month of March, the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival is an exciting event consisting of film screening, panels, discussions and celebrations throughout the Shoals area.

Check out this year’s schedule here: http://www.lindseyfilmfest.com/

Abstraction in Realism: Watercolors by Yuri Ozaki

Join us for the GALLERY TALK for Yuri Ozaki’s exhibition of watercolors, Abstraction in Realism, February 19 at 6PM.

Yuri Ozaki grew up in a small town in Mie Prefecture on the Kii Peninsula of Japan. The area is known for its unique wet climate and mystical history. This area also features UNESCO World Heritage registered sacred sites and pilgrimage routes. The beauty and mystery of her home region has been a strong influence on Ozaki’s work.
Her favorite subjects have been woodland scenes in the Tennessee Valley as well as her coastal hometown in Japan. Most recently, she has been experimenting with her own imaginary world based on scenes of decay and renewal in nature.
She feels connected to her subjects through the texture of watercolor on paper.
Ozaki has been accepted to several national juried shows since 2010 where she has garnered several awards. She is a signature member of the Watercolor Society of Alabama and North East Watercolor Society.
yuriozaki.com

Up From Slavery: the Black History Experience Trolley Tour

The Tennessee Valley Historical Society will host a trolley tour Saturday, February 17 at 11:00 a.m. The “Up From Slavery: the Black History Experience “ tour is presented In commemoration of Black History month. This one hour trolley tour, conducted by Lee Freeman, will visit Florence sites significant to the story of the history of Black Florence citizens prior to after the Civil War.

The tour departs from the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Visitor Center at 200 Jim Spain Drive in McFarland Park at 11:00 a.m. Admission is $10.00, children riding in an adults lap ride free. All proceeds go to the UNA History Scholarship Fund. Reservations are recommended as seating is limited. To make reservations or for additional information call the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism office at 256-740-4141 .

Downtown Florence, Your Valentine’s Day Destination for Fun!

By Stephen Edmonds

Whether you dread it or anticipate it, Valentine’s day is almost here!  There is no better way to spend this day than with the people you love; and that still applies even if you are not in a romantic relationship with this person or persons.  Family, coworkers, good friends; all of these relationships deserve to be celebrated on February 14th this year, so why not spend it with us in beautiful downtown Florence?  Here are some fantastic reasons why you should!

The biggest reason why downtown Florence deserves your business this Valentine’s Day is because there is something for everyone here.  The Shoals is full of an eclectic mix of people and the local business owners have adapted to that excellently by offering many different forms of entertainment.

 

If you’re looking to have fun while you and your family, friends, or loved ones participate in games and puzzles, we eagerly recommend Escape Room Florence and Paradox Challenge Rooms Florence.  These two escape room businesses have put their originality to work in creating interesting scenarios and rooms full of puzzles for your enjoyment!  A varying number of people can participate at once, so this is ideal for a medium to large party of participants.  This experience is so much fun, you’ll be talking about it for a little while afterwards making it a perfect thing to do before dinner. 

 

Just you and your loved one?  Head over to Spinning Spoke and rent a couple bicycles for an hour!  This is a greatway to get to know the downtown, parks, and UNA areas.  To top it all off, the cycles they rent are a guaranteed smooth ride. Another great idea to combine with dinner or a show afterwards; this will create a well-rounded evening experience leaving all parties satisfied.

 

 

To keep the options coming, downtown Florence is also home to a host of museums.  These establishments are rich in the culture and history that made our town what it is today.  Whether you try Pope’s Tavern, the Indian Mound, the W.C. Handy Home, or all three; these interesting locations are full of info and history that really drives home a sense of belonging and can reignite anyone’s love for the Shoals.  Each of these museums can accommodate groups of multiple sizes and, once again, these visits can be combined with dinner or a livelier activity to create a well-rounded and memorable evening.

 

For the citizens interested in the arts, there is absolutely no better place to go than downtown Florence.  The Shoals has always been a landmark for music in America and that is still true today.  With the multitude of swanky music venues that call our downtown home, fans of any genre of music will find the electric atmosphere of establishments like The Mane Room, 116 E Mobile, and Singin’ River Live undeniably irresistible.  Similarly, downtown boasts an armada of theatre venues where plays are held regularly.  Such notable places include The Z (Historic Zodiac Theatre), Shoals Community Theatre, and the UNA Theatre.  No matter what your cup of tea is, there is a venue here for you.  These locations are perfect for groups of varying sizes and the stellar atmosphere of downtown Florence’s artistic side will be sure to create an evening for the books.

 

No evening out is complete without a great meal.  Any of the activities suggested so far can easily be coupled with dinner from one of our fine eating establishments.  Yumm Thai Sushi and Beyond is a Florence fan favorite while the calm and intimate atmosphere at City Hardware is perfect for a one on one date.  Going out earlier in the day?Trowbridge’s is a perfect spot for lunch or a snack with their  menu that features savory meals and sweet desserts all at ideal lunch sized portions.  Want to sample Florence’s nightlife?  Wait till late and head over to FloBama, or On the Rocks.  There’s almost always live music going on in these bar and grille establishments.  Wildwood Tavern and Tennessee Street Billiards & Grille are also notable spots for deliciously creative food, tasty drinks, and active nightlife.  One more noteworthy mention on this list would be Chicago Café that stays open late to make sure you have a snack right when you need it.  No matter who you are with, these spots make a perfect end to a long day, or a flawless beginning to a long night.

At Florence Main Street, we know Valentine’s Day is about love specifically, not just dating relationships; so, don’t get bummed out if you don’t have a significant other this time around.  Instead, focus on the ties that you already have with your family, friends, and possibly even coworkers.  These relationships often get pushed to the side because of the popular notion that Valentine’s Day is strictly for dating couples, so I challenge you, reader:  Don’t let this Valentine’s Day be a source of sadness or disappointment; let it be a night to remember in a place that you love with people that you love even more.