Paula Deen's Uncle Bubba's Restaurant Closed, Employees Reportedly Not Informed
Update: Paula Deen's rep confirmed the closing of Uncle Bubba's. "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," the rep said in a statement to Us. "However, the restaurant's owner and operator, Bubba Hiers, 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," the statement continued. "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."
As previously reported, Paula Deen's brother shuttered the Savannah, Ga., restaurant that was at the center of her controversial lawsuit and deposition in 2013.
According to the Washington Post, Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House posted an announcement on its Facebook page, which has since been deleted. "Thank you for 10 great years," the statement reportedly read. "Uncle Bubba's is now closed."
The Post also reported that employees at the Southern eatery, which Deen co-owned with her brother, Bubb Hiers, had not been informed of the closing prior to the announcement. According to the Savannah Morning News, workers were collecting their severance checks in the parking lot
Uncle Bubba's was thrust into the spotlight last year when Lisa Jackson, a former employee, filed a lawsuit claiming that she had faced sexual harassment and racial discrimination while working there. In a deposition for the case, Deen, 67, admitted to having used the N-word in the past -- a confession that started a rapid downward spiral for the celebrity chef.
After her deposition, Deen was fired from her job at the Food Network and dropped by many of her business partners, including Sears, Kmart, and JCPenney. The lawsuit was later dismissed, but the damage had already been done.
"I am looking forward to getting this behind me, now that the remaining claims have been resolved," the former Food Network star told Us Weekly after the charges were dropped. "Moving forward, my team and I working to review the workplace environment issues that were raised in this matter and to retool all of my business operations."