The Factory Café continues to grow, change, and evolve—just like the menu that it serves each day. The café has seen three incredible chefs come through the kitchen since its opening in 2013, and today we want to introduce you to our head chef, Ray Nichols, and welcome him to the team.
Ray—who was born in Memphis, Tennessee, but raised here in Florence—shares our care and dedication for this community. After graduating from Auburn University, Ray changed his path of going to law school to pursue dreams of cooking for a living. Ray started with chef David Bancroft at Amsterdam Café, then moved to Nashville to work with chef Sean Brock at Husk. He trained under Philip Krajeck at Rolf & Daughters in Nashville before returning home to work as line cook and then sous chef at local favorite, Odette. Ray’s love of cooking stems from the simple love of eating, and he focuses on creating simple, flavorful dishes by utilizing local and seasonal ingredients while maintaining a positive and memorable work environment for those who surround him.
Highlights from the menu will include specialty cocktails like a Cider Sparkler and the Autumn Me Crazy – made with smoked sweet potatoes. Chef Ray will also be firing up our new Traeger Pro Series 34 Grill with a wood fire to create grilled and slow-smoked dishes for the evening.