Clayton Butler admits that, since working as a dishwasher at Duner’s in the late ’90s, his culinary journey has been “trial by fire.” He’s traveled and trained throughout the United States, including at a Relais & Chateaux establishment in North Carolina, celebrity chef restaurants in Las Vegas, and destinations in Lake Tahoe.
The Batteau owner and chef said his goal was always to own his own restaurant, so after moving to Scottsville to be near family, he and his wife set up shop downtown, first opening a small wine store, which expanded into a wine and specialty spot with grab-and-go lunch options, then finally to The Batteau, the full-service restaurant and wine bar that opened in October 2019. On the menu, crispy fried catfish meets chili-lime edamame meets Thai curry.
“I was born and (partially) raised in Louisiana, which sparked a lifelong interest in Southern-American cooking,” Butler says. “I’ve picked up techniques from French, British, Turkish, and Japanese chefs along the way, which I’ve adapted and melded into the [restaurant’s] eclectic style.”
We asked him to tell us about a few more of his favorite things and biggest influences.
Always on the bar: Missile IPA from Champion Brewing Company
Special-occasion drink: Champagne
Energy source: I know it sounds cheesy, but I thrive on my kids’ energy. At 1 and 3, they have a ton of it.
Lunch spot: Riverside or Guadalajara
Chinese take-out order: My new favorite is kung pao chicken.
Go-to comfort food: Fried chicken
Sandwich: French dip
Unusual ingredient: Huy Fong chili sauce
Healthy snack: Bananas
Unhealthy snack: All the unhealthy snacks. Seriously, I love snacks.
Condiment: Mustard—yellow, Dijon, stone-ground. …Any kind of mustard.
Chocolate: Dark chocolate
Grocery-store cookie: Tate’s thin chocolate-chip cookies
Dessert: Crème brûlée
Ice cream flavor: Chocolate chip cookie dough
Kitchen aroma: Bread baking
Always in the home fridge: Milk and eggs
Always in the pantry: Spices
Bodo’s order: Roast beef on everything bagel with Swiss cheese and tomato
Salad bar toppings: Cucumber, tomato, red onion, croutons, shaved carrots, croutons, ranch dressing, and more croutons.
Cut of meat: Rib-eye
Fish: Sea bass
Midnight snack: Popcorn. Also a plain Hershey bar with a handful of pistachios.
Appliance: Gas range
Food books: Anything by Thomas Keller and On Food and Cooking by Herold McGee.
Dream trip: Japan. Everything about the food and culture is fascinating.
Favorite food city: New Orleans
Cooking clothes: Chef jacket, chef pants, clogs, and an apron.
Kitchen shoes: Birkenstocks and Danskos
Best meal ever: Oyster Orleans at Half Shell Oyster House in Biloxi, Mississippi. I once took a two-hour detour on a road trip home from New Orleans for these oysters. Worth it.