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Paula Deen’s first post-controversy business venture is $20 million restaurant near Dolly Parton’s theme park

By Daniel S Levine,

Now that Paula Deen has the money to make a comeback after last year’s damaging ‘n-word’ scandal, the celebrity chef has her first business venture set. She plans on opening a new Paula Deen’s Kitchen restaurant in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., near Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park.

Paula Deen Ventures, the new company that is starting off with a $75 million investment from a private equity firm, said Thursday that it will spend $20 million to build the restaurant, reports The Associated Press.

The location will be a 20,000-square-foot restaurant and will also have a souvenir shop, notes TMZ.

Deen’s comeback has included apologizing for using the n-word while at a South Florida festival last weekend and a new interview with People magazine.

“I'm fighting to get my name back,” Deen told People. “I used to have dreams that I lost everything. And when it finally happens, you think, 'I'm still alive.'”

Dollywood, a theme park created by country legend Parton, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which draws 10 million visitors annually. Last summer, Dollywood announced plans to expand, so it looks like Deen picked a perfect time to build a restaurant near there.

image courtesy of NBC

 

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