Paula Deen to open restaurant and retail shop in Pigeon Forge

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Paula Deen Ventures has announced it will open a new restaurant and retail operation at the Island in Pigeon Forge.

The business, the first since a scandal derailed other plans, is "Paula Deen's Family Kitchen," and is expected to be a 20,000 square foot expansion of the Deen family restaurant concept in Savannah, Georgia.

"We're really excited about today's announcement. We think this is the one piece that we needed to complete. So now we're something for everybody," said Darby Campbell, developer of the Island in Pigeon Forge.

When the doors open this summer for Paula Dean's new restaurant on the Island, it'll offer something new for the attraction and 150 new full-time jobs.

"It's a family restaurant, comfort foods, family kitchen with her two sons," said Bob Manis, who is working with Deen on the concept. "Their loss is our gain and we're so excited to have Paula involved to bring the concept to the Island."

Deen originally told the Island developers no because of how close the Cherokee restaurant would have been. But after the venture's partnership with Hara's ended after last year's discrimination scandal, the Island picked up the new restaurant.

Paula Deen Ventures says design, construction and the yearly operation budget are projected at nearly $20 million.

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