Uncle Bubba's Oyster House has closed.
The Savannah restaurant that made national headlines after "Bubba's" former general manager, Lisa Jackson, filed a lawsuit against co-owners Paula Deen and Bubba Hiers alleging that Hiers "routinely made inappropriate sexual and racial remarks", among other claims, abruptly shuttered its doors yesterday. The restaurant's website simply states, "Thank you for 10 great years. Uncle Bubba's is now closed."
According to TMZ, restaurant employees, some of whom were with the restaurant since it opened a decade ago, were not informed prior to the closing, stating that "workers showed up this morning only to find the sign down and appliances being removed from the joint".
Deen's publicist, Jaret Keller, issued the following statement:
Since its opening in 2004, Uncle Bubba's Oyster House has been a destination for residents and tourists in Savannah, offering the region's freshest seafood and oysters. However, the restaurant's owner and operator, Bubba Hiers, has made the decision to close the restaurant in order to explore development options for the waterfront property on which the restaurant is located. At this point, no specific plans have been announced and a range of uses are under consideration in order realize the highest and best use for the property.
The closing is effective today, Thursday, April 3, 2014. Employees will be provided with severance based on position and tenure with the restaurant. All effort will be made to find employees comparable employment with other Savannah restaurant organizations.
In August, a federal judge ruled that Lisa T. Jackson, the former employee suing Deen and Hiers, has no standing in her racial discrimination claims, dismissing that portion of the lawsuit. A settlement of the rest of the lawsuit was said to have been in the works.
Deen, who chose to stay out of the public eye after numerous endorsement deals were cancelled, made several appearances at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, even riding pal Robert Irvine as thousands of fans whooped their approval.