San Antonio Employees Allege Paula Deen's Family Kitchen Owes Them Money After Abrupt Closing

click to enlarge San Antonio Employees Allege Paula Deen's Family Kitchen Owes Them Money After Abrupt Closing
Jessica Elizarraras
Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen abruptly closed the doors to its San Antonio location shortly after its one year anniversary. Now, employees are claiming they were never paid what they were owed and received no notice of the closure.

"When they closed the doors, just like that, it was very sad and heartbreaking for no one to get paid and what was due to them," former employee Michelle Jordan told KENS 5. "We worked so hard for somebody who really didn't care."

Former line cook Annette Badillo said the location had gone months without paying vendors, signaling that it was bound to shut down eventually.

The Fairview location (DFW area) also shut down about a month after the San Antonio outpost closed its doors. Both locations have been removed from the website, except for a brief mention in the “Our Story” section. The Facebook pages have also been taken down.

Jaret Keller, president of Key Group Worldwide issued a statement on Monday, July 29 announcing the closure though he didn't provide a reason. However, the statement did say new restaurants would open in 2019 and 2020, and the Dallas location would remain open (it didn't).

Comments under a KSAT 12 Facebook post about the closing blame San Antonians for liking tacos too much to support the Southern restaurant and the city for not having a culinary scene worthy of celebrity chefs. Others called the food mediocre and expensive, while some locals claimed they didn’t know the restaurant even existed.

This isn’t the first time a restaurant associated with Paula Deen has closed abruptly. In 2014, Uncle Bubba’s Seafood & Oyster House, operated by Bubba Hiers (Deen’s brother) closed down after a discrimination accusation without notifying employees. Employees found out via Facebook that they would receive severance pay and there would be an effort to find similar employment for them.

Bass Pro Shops has yet to announce what will replace the restaurant. There hasn't been a statement from Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen about paying workers what they say they are owed.

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