Paula Deen Closes Eatery, Doesn't Tell Employees

But, hey, they got severance pay!

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 4, 2014 9:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – The restaurant owned by Paula Deen and her brother Bubba continues to be controversial even while shutting down. Uncle Bubba's Oyster House was the Savannah, Georgia, restaurant at the middle of a sexual harassment lawsuit that ultimately sparked Deen's n-word controversy. It closed "abruptly" yesterday after 10 years in business, Reuters reports. There's no official word on whether the closure was related to the lawsuit (which was ultimately dismissed) and ensuing scandal; a family spokesperson says the eatery was closed "in order to explore development options for the waterfront property on which the restaurant is located."

But the siblings somehow could not manage to avoid yet more controversy while closing the restaurant: The Savannah Morning News reports that employees were given no warning of the closure and were surprised to show up to work yesterday and discover they no longer had jobs. The paper describes a scene of "long-time employees collect[ing] severance checks in the parking lot" as police officers turned away would-be customers. An official statement from the family says "all effort will be made to find employees comparable employment with other Savannah restaurant organizations," but TMZ reports that so far, all the former employees have received is a list of other restaurants in the area that are hiring. (The last not-so-appealing headline related to Uncle Bubba's involved "old food buildup" and similar grossness.)

In this publicity image released by NBC, celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' Today show, wednesday, June 26, 2013 in New York.
In this publicity image released by NBC, celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show, wednesday, June 26, 2013 in New York.   (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer)
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