To keep a San Antonio restaurant thriving, it helps to have good food, affordable prices, and a solid concept. What apparently doesn’t help with longevity is a celebrity name — especially one as controversial as former Food Network personality Paula Deen.
According to an employee at The Rim shopping center, the sole Alamo City location of Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen closed July 28. The reason for the sudden shutter is unclear. At press time, a restaurant rep has not responded to a request for comment, and the location’s official web and social channels have been scrubbed.
Despite years of turmoil, including a racial discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit, Deen saw rapid expansion of her restaurant brand in 2018. Included in last year’s growth were Texas' first two locations: an outpost in Dallas-Fort Worth suburb Fairview debuted in March 2018, followed by the San Antonio location in May 2018.
The concept was similar to The Lady and Sons, the Savannah, Georgia, restaurant Deen has been operating since 1996. Traditional Southern dishes such as chicken fried steak, shrimp ’n’ grits, and pot roast formed the core of the menu, which could be ordered a la carte or as a family-style spread.
The San Antonio location also had a gift shop devoted to all things Deen, including branded cookbooks, mixes, condiments, clothing, and cookware. Naturally, much of the merchandise revolved around her famous use of butter.
The shutter of Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is the second celebrity-related project to shutter in 2019. Buddy V’s Ristorante, the La Cantera eatery from “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro closed in March after a little more than a year in business.
The DFW location of Deen’s restaurant, which has a different operator, will remain open. Meanwhile, San Antonians who are craving Southern fare have plenty of options, including two promising 2019 newcomers Eastside Kitchenette and Fontaine’s Southern Diner & Bar.