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Kenny Chesney

Batter Up! restaurant ends dining room services, will continue catering

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CHILDERSBURG, Ala. – After six years of serving the community with great food and an excellent dining experience, Childersburg restaurant Batter Up! has closed its dining room doors to the public.

Owner Dusti Smith took over the business in 2004 when it was formerly called Whiskers. Located on Hwy 280 beside Bon Air Rd., Batter Up! has been a staple in Childersburg no matter the name on the front of the building.

After being known as the aforementioned Whiskers as well as City Limits, Dusti and her husband Les opened as Batter Up! in March 2016. Since then, the couple have made plenty of friends and memories.

“Les and I have truly loved every minute of this business,” said Dusti. “The customers and support of our community have been amazing. Business has been great. Our employees are our family. We love them and will miss spending every weekend with them, but are still here to help them any way we can in finding new jobs and helping them prepare for their futures.”

The decision to go away from the dining-in service came from two key components.

When Les and Dusti opened Batter Up! they always knew there would come a point in the future where other priorities such as spending more time with family would be factored in.

“Ultimately it came down to having my nights with my kids,” Dusti explained. “My son is 14 and going into the ninth grade. Our children are getting older and these days are passing so quickly. One was to work really hard and be able to slow down when our children were older so we could enjoy their extracurricular activities.”

However, this transition process was expedited after the toll their business suffered through during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most food, ingredients, and supplies have seen exponential increases in pricing as well as backlogging and delays in supply shipments.

“In my 19 years around and in this business I have never seen anything like what is happening right now,” Smith remarked. “Small businesses are really suffering. There are a lot of products we cannot even get.”

According to Dusti, the cost of chicken is at “an all-time high” and the price of cooking oil has more than doubled.

On top of the inflation issues, the labor shortage really impacted Les and Dusti.

“When I closed last weekend I had about 15 employees,” noted Smith. “I need 22 to run effectively. You cannot get people who want to work. It’s all a really bad situation.”

Although ending the dining service was a hard decision, they are excited to fully focus on switching over to on-demand deliveries and Cater Up!

“My full time staff and I are busy with deliveries and catering every day,” said Dusti. “We are still here to serve our community. It just looks a little different now. Batter Up! is now on demand. Anyone can call and order bulk orders for pickup. We deliver lunch daily to local businesses. Right now we are just working through the changes a day at a time.”

The business will still offer bulk order of hams, turkeys, chicken and dressing, and more for the holidays. In the future, renting the building for private parties will be an option.

“My heart is completely wrapped up in this business and I am continuing to work daily,” Dusti expressed.


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