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Battuto Italian Kitchen is closing to become Snuffer's burger spinoff

Gene and Julie, Battuto Italian Kitchen
Gene and Julie Gates are leaving Dallas to do the morning show at WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina. Photo by Marc Lee

In exciting radio news, radio personalities Gene and Julie Gates are leaving Dallas to do the morning show at WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, where they'll start July 28. But it's bittersweet news for their restaurant, Battuto Italian Kitchen, which will close and become home to a new burger joint from Dallas legend Pat Snuffer.

Julie Gates says that she is unable to comment on the new tenant until the paperwork works its way through the chain.

"It's one of those weird things where life takes a left turn," she says. "We love Dallas, it's been our home for nine years, but we were recruited for an unbelievable radio job. Did we plan on opening a restaurant and throwing our life savings into a business we were going to close in a year? I'd say no. But for us, it's 'Where's the best adventure?' And our daughter, who is nine, is on board."

Gene Gates told that the couple never intended to leave radio but had to get the restaurant open and running. Their hard work on the restaurant culminated with an award from OpenTable as one of the nation's neighborhood gems, "the restaurants favored by their communities for making diners feel special time and time again."

Battuto has been closed for the Fourth of July holiday; according to a message on its answering machine, it was scheduled to reopen July 14. But with the Gates' sudden move, that will no longer happen.

Pat Snuffer has been seeking a location for the burger joint he wants to open with his son ever since he lost control of Snuffer's last year. The new burger joint will be called Pat's and Mike's.

Julie calls the restaurant "a massive labor of love" and says she and Gene are working to find jobs for their displaced employees.

"We made plenty of mistakes," she says. "This was our first rodeo. We just jumped in and did it. But we listened to people's feedback. What I'm most proud of, which has nothing to do with Gene or myself, is the staff. I learned so many deep personal lessons, they taught me so much. We are looking for some great homes for our staff."

UPDATE: Pat Snuffer's PR representative sent out a statement confirming the existence of the new restaurant, for now called "Pat's and Mike," which seems to lack some punctuation? The release states that it will be a "comfortable, casual bar" featuring not just burgers but "hand-crafted" pizzas, Tex-Mex items, a full-service bar highlighting tequila and margaritas, and late-night service.

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