We had the good fortune of connecting with Erik Batchelor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erik, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My wife and I have a son with special needs and we wanted a place where he could always work. Free of managers that might not treat him the way he should be treated. Opening up our restaurant allows him to work in an environment where he is free to learn at his own speed and meet new friends daily.
Moreover, we wanted a place that would grow and create generational wealth for both our boys. Once my brother and his wife partnered with us then we have created something that could support that dream for both our families.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Imagine a life where you wake up daily after the late night bar goers have gone to bed, but the early risers are not yet waking to the alarm clocks. After you get dressed and grab a cup of coffee you walk outside to the pit. On this walk you take a look at the stars still in the sky and listen to the owls, or coyotes howling after catching dinner for the night.
Further Imagine, once the fire is started sitting and staring directly at it. While you stare into the fire there is a 30-45 minute window where you can think about the way your smoked harvest turned out the previous day. Then once the meat hits the smoker your job starts. Paying attention to the color of your coals, the temp inside the smoke chamber, and the air flow through the beast. All of this is a life that many Romanize about, but cannot follow through with because of “Hurry.”
“Hurry” is defined… “A great Haste” or “In great haste” None of that fits within the realm of BBQ. While there are time lines in every business once you can slow down and dedicate yourself to this craft all time lines can be met. You will never hear a true pit master complain about long hours… because it is about doing what you love.
* The Germans are known for their engineering, France for their rich decadent style of cooking, but BBQ is owned by America. It dates back to the Spanish settlers and stumbling upon the way indigenous people cooked food on raised platforms above fire. So when you ask “Why BBQ?” I’d say, because we get a chance to be part of a true American tradition and continue a craft that is not seen around the world. You can only find true BBQ in the America’s, and we can be part of a tradition that is as old as America itself.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
That’s a great question… They would definitely come to our restaurant and probably have dinner and drinks. (But that goes without saying) There would be a few rounds of golf one at TPC and one at We-Ko-pa, while not the best courses in AZ they are fun. We would then make a trip up north to the Grand Canyon, but not on 17 we would take the back way via bee-line.
While heading up we could stop in Christopher creek and hike down the canyon jumping into the fresh water pools. After that we would stop up Pine Top for BBQ Nachos at Pinewood Tavern. Then on to Flagstaff where we would stay for the night. Before heading to the South Rim we would stop by “The Place” for some amazing country Benedict. On our way back to the valley we would have to travel the back way from Flag to Sedona seeing the beautiful creeks and red rocks stopping in Tlaquepaque to check out the local artists that paint a story of AZ. Off to Cottonwood and into Jerome to stop for an amazing haunted burger, then onto Prescott. Stopping in Prescott to check out the speak easy at Founding Fathers Collective (FFC) after a hike to the “Granite Mountain Hot shots Juniper.”
After this week long trip we would have to make it back to Fountain Hills for a Trivia Night at Batchelor’s Pad BBQ. This is a trivia experience much like a rival football game. Where at least 15 teams of no less than 4 people hoot and holler, shake cow bells, and wave terrible towels after getting questions right.
Yep… that is a fun week.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are far too many people to name in regards to those who have helped us achieve the knowledge to open and run a restaurant. There are even more individuals who have mentored me on the journey of life and to even try to name folks is a momentous task. When it comes to those that love us… well isn’t that the beauty of opening a restaurant with your family? Those that encourage, love, and provide true feedback are working with you everyday. This isn’t an easy road and full of a lot of tension at times, but I wouldn’t choose this path with anyone else.
In regards to mentors, I was told by my father many years ago to find a board if directors for your life. A group of men who you trust that can counsel you in different decisions you will make. Take the time to call them or have a meal with them prior to making life changing decisions. I have called upon this group of men man times…it was well worth the call.
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