In some European countries, it is not uncommon for customers to bring their pets into restaurants as they dine.
A new animal-friendly Batesville restaurant welcomes dogs and occasionally goats.
“When I first opened, I was moderately concerned about how some people would take the dog-friendly,” said owner Lisa Taylor, a former dentist. “One day, we had a girl bring her goat that was dressed in a cute outfit. We had a couple of customers taken aback by a goat being in a restaurant. I was a little concerned about that. Everything else has been easy and good so far.”
The Bread & Butter Bistro, at 129 Public Square in Batesville, is the first bistro in Panola County and one of the few dog-friendly restaurants in Mississippi.
“We have a special on Saturdays,” Taylor said. “Several puppies come in, and they usually act better than people’s children.”
The restaurant serves gourmet coffee, breakfast and lunch. Taylor was led to open the business because of her love for cooking. She also felt like owning a restaurant was her ministry.
“Cooking is something I’ve always loved to do, so I reached a point in my life where I wanted to go from dentistry to opening a restaurant and having no expectations of what would become of it,” she said.
“It’s unique because Batesville doesn’t have any coffee shops or things that are home-cooked. I listened to a talk show one day about figuring out your menu and about dating your customer. Learning what people like, what they don’t like, and what to expect helps us cater to our clientele, allowing them to enjoy what they are having.”
After leaving dentistry, Taylor learned that balancing life and work is difficult when you are self-employed.
“It’s a lot of hours,” she said. “Making everything fresh and from scratch takes a lot of time. It is a challenge to be a boss, and know how to be a nice boss, but still be productive, trying to manage people and caring about others, but staying focused on the business.”
The bistro has three full-time employees and a couple of part-time workers who often fill in when others are unable to be there.
“I’ve told everyone that I hire that I’m new at this, so any suggestions and ideas are always welcome,” she said. “No one is above anyone else. We are a team.”
Regular customer Sarah Sides said Taylor makes others feel at home.
“They have a man that comes almost every day with his wife and wants to sit at only one table, his favorite table,” she said. “One day, he saw that the table was too low, so he made his own leg chair built for the table. Every time we see him come in, we have to rush and put his own leg chairs on the table so that he is comfortable.”
Taylor hopes the bistro grows into a catering company in the next five to 10 years. “We live day by day,” she said. “However, we are hosting a bigger dinner for Panola Partnership in March, allowing us to grow and doing more catering.”
Taylor said she’s happy with the restaurant now. “I asked my husband the other day if we should start setting goals, but really our main goal is to continue serving good quality food and making people feel good and happy,” she said.
Taylor hopes Bread & Butter remains humble and quaint.
“My restaurant is more of a labor of love than it is a business,” she said. “Nothing is set in stone. We are flexible with our customers based on their comfort needs. Whether it’s the menu or the venue, we are always happy to do it.”