Food Factory Closes in Cary

Cary, NC – The Food Factory, a longtime favorite for breakfast and lunch downtown, closed its doors in Cary for the last time on Saturday. The restaurant is relocating to Duke University in Durham.

Jimmy Schmid, owner of The Food Factory with his wife Lisa, spoke to CaryCitizen on Sunday night. He was cleaning out the restaurant on East Chatham Street.

“We didn’t have to go,” Jimmy said. “But I can only do one restaurant at the time.”

The opportunity at Duke had been percolating for two and half years. During the same period, Jimmy had been trying to get infrastructure improvements from his landlord to the Cary location.

The Schmid’s eventually got an electrical upgrade, but experienced a leaky roof, inadequate air conditioning and other issues. Jimmy wanted to expand his restaurant into 3500 square feet of unfinished storage space, but couldn’t come to an agreement with the landlord about an up-fit. “My business plan was there, my food was there, my customer base was there,” Schmid said. “The infrastructure failed me.”

The Food Factory is moving to the Devil’s Bistro on Duke’s Central Campus. “It looks right out on the swimming pool and is across the street from Duke Gardens,” Jimmy said.

Schmid was philosophical about the decision to close the Cary restaurant. “I like my landlord. He’s a great guy. But I just couldn’t get what I needed to make the most of my business.”

Jimmy is taking 3 of his 12 employees with him to Durham. Lisa’s cousin Ray is planning to open a new restaurant called Dory’s Downtown in the old Food Factory space. Jimmy said Ray would look to hire ex-employees who needed work.

Other restaurants in downtown are likely to see an uptick in their business as well. “We fed a lot of people every week,” Jimmy said.

Saturday’s finale at The Food Factory brought out longtime patrons for a last Reuben or Pastrami sandwich. “Customers brought flowers, balloons, cakes,” Jimmy said. “It was overwhelming.”

The Food Factory will be missed in downtown Cary. If you’d like to check out the new Durham location or stay in touch with Jimmy and Lisa, visit the Food Factory on Facebook.

 

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6 replies
  1. Ian Henshaw
    Ian Henshaw says:

    So sad to see. For many, many years, Food Factory has been catering the meal for the huge Blue & Gold Ceremony for Pack 200 at the First United Methodist Church on Academy. They will be missed. Not sure that I can get by Durham for lunch…

  2. caroline morgan
    caroline morgan says:

    A sad loss for Cary and a sign of the times. Very shortsighted on the part of the landlord -this was a hugely popular lunch spot-I wish the new business owner Ray the very best of luck-he has a hard act to follow but hopefully Jimmy’s Cary clients will come out and support him!

  3. elin
    elin says:

    I loved the Food Factory! I sure hope the new Dory’s Downtown has the same menu (and a roof that doesn’t leak – hey Mr. Landlord…fix it!)

  4. Beth
    Beth says:

    Sad! But at least I work in Durham and can still eat at the Food Factory!! Where else can you eat those amazing cukes!!!

  5. Kimm redding
    Kimm redding says:

    Well CRAP!!! My husband and Iused to a mailing for them back in 2004ish. LOVED their food!!! I’m from New York, so I know a good deli when I saw one!!
    We are gonna miss you!!

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