SAVANNAH, Ga. – Paula Deen and her younger brother, Bubba, have shut off the fish fryer and locked the doors at the Savannah seafood restaurant that served as the backdrop to a workplace discrimination lawsuit that stained the celebrity cook’s reputation.
Deen and Bubba Hiers co-owned Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House for a decade before the abrupt closure Thursday.
A spokesman for the Deen family, Jaret Kellers, issued a statement saying Hiers closed the restaurant to explore development options for the waterfront property on which the restaurant is located. Kellers said no specific plans have been made yet.
Barricades blocked the entrance to Uncle Bubba’s on Friday. The Savannah Morning News reported employees collected severance checks in the parking lot Thursday.
The restaurant closed less than a year after Deen was stung by her admission in a deposition that she had used racial slurs in the past. She was questioned by attorneys representing a former Uncle Bubba’s manager who claimed she was subjected to racial slurs and sexual innuendo by Hiers. The suit was settled last August, but not before Deen lost her Food Network show and some lucrative endorsement deals.
While Deen’s money kept the doors open and her fame attracted customers, she had little to do with Uncle Bubba’s daily operations. – Associated Press