Two of Georgia-based restaurateur Paula Deen's Family Kitchen locations will soon close in Florida, according to a spokesperson.
Paula Deen Ventures spokesman Jaret Keller told The Associated Press that licensing partner Phoenix Hospitality decided to close its Destin and Panama City Beach restaurants.
Keller said Paula Deen Ventures is planning to work with landlords to consider reopening them next spring.
During the summer, Paula Deen restaurants operated by Phoenix Hospitality in San Antonio and Fairview, Texas, closed. All four locations had opened within the last two years. Associated Press reporters left messages for Phoenix Hospitality, but calls were not immediately returned.
Deen, who was born and raised in Albany, Georgia, took her first shot at running a restaurant in the 1990s, when she opened The Bag Lady, a business she started in her kitchen, in Savannah. By 1996, she opened her wildly popular Savannah staple The Lady and Sons, with her two sons. With tourists beginning to sing her praises, the Food Network caught wind.
Deen became a near-instant Food Network star in 1999, appearing on shows including “Ready, Set, Cook!” In 2002, she starred in her own show, “Paula’s Home Cooking.” Soon, Oprah and other A-list stars began featuring the relatable chef with the Southern twang on their shows.
The beloved television chef’s image was tarnished in 2013 after she acknowledged in a deposition that she had used racial slurs. The admission, revealed during a lawsuit filed by a former employee, led to Deen’s Food Network show being canceled and the loss of dozens of product endorsements, including Smithfield Foods.
The Paula Deen's Family Kitchen website still lists locations in Branson, Missouri; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, which was the first location that opened in 2014. New locations are set to open in Foley, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee, according to Deen’s team.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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