Paula Deen says her Panama City Beach restaurant reopens Monday

PANAMA CITY BEACH — Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen reopens its doors Monday in Pier Park, serving endless bowls of comfort food to fulfill Southern cravings.

Reunions will come later.

“This world we’re living in is almost a day to day thing. I’m not going to be there when it opens this go around. We’re not having a big grand opening, but I certainly hope to get back there soon,” Paula Deen said Wednesday. “We’re looking so forward to being back with everybody and hoping to bring them wonderful experiences in the coming years. Hopefully it will stir up memories in older folks and create new memories for the younger ones.”

More:Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen slated to reopen March 8 at Pier Park in Panama City Beach

The celebrity restaurateur, TV host and cookbook author appeared with her husband, Michael Groover, in Panama City Beach in May 2019 to celebrate the initial opening of the Pier Park location. After closing in November 2019, the Panama City Beach location now will be operated by Paula Deen Ventures, which already oversees her other Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen locations.

“We had so many requests with people reaching out,” Deen said. “We knew we belonged there from the start. We have no qualms about going to Panama City. We’re so excited.”

At this time, she added, there are not plans to reopen the Destin location or any of the other locations formerly run by Phoenix Hospitality. 

The first Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen opened in 2015 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen also has locations in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Branson, Missouri; Foley, Alabama; and Nashville, Tennessee.

“We have a fabulous team,” Deen said. “Paula Deen Ventures has this unique ability to hire the most incredible people and once they get in, they stay.”

She estimated the Panama City Beach location will hire between 130 and 150 people.

“I love when a restaurant opens up to be able to give back to that community. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back out there,” said Deen, whose Bag Lady Foundation donated $2,500 to Bethel Village in May 2019.

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