After 10 years, beleaguered ex-Food Network star Paula Deen and her team have suddenly shuttered Uncle Bubba's Seafood & Oyster House in Savannah, Georgia. TMZ reports that employees showed up to work this morning only to find the restaurant closed and its appliances being removed. On the Uncle Bubba's Facebook page the company simply writes: "Thank you for 10 great years. Uncle Bubba's is now closed." Paula Deen's racism scandal kicked off at Uncle Bubba's.
It's been a tough year for the Savannah restaurant. Deen's public relations nightmare began when a deposition in a now-dismissed lawsuit brought by a former manager of Uncle Bubba's was leaked. In the deposition Deen admitted to using racial slurs, the resulting scandal costing millions in lost endorsement deals. WTOC's Dan Logana publishes an official statement from Deen's camp on Facebook. Copied below, the statement notes that "employees will be provided with severance based on position and tenure" and that the decision was made by owner/operator/Deen's brother Bubba Heirs.
While this might be the end of Uncle Bubba's, this is not the end of Deen's restaurant ambitions. After raising between $75 million and $100 million, Deen recently announced plans to open a new restaurant in Tennessee. Check out the statement on the Uncle Bubba's closure below:
"Since its opening in 2004, Uncle Bubba's Oyster House has been a destination for residents and tourists in Savannah, offering the region's freshest seafood and oysters. However, the restaurant's owner and operator, Bubba Heirs, has made the decision to close the restaurant in order to explore development options for the waterfront property on which the restaurant is located. At this point, no specific plans have been announced and a range of uses are under consideration in order realize the highest and best use for the property.
The closing is effective today, Thursday, April 3, 2014. Employees will be provided with severance based on position and tenure with the restaurant. All effort will be made to find employees comparable employment with other Savannah restaurant organizations."
-Jaret Keller, Deen Spokesperson