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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo Paula Deen says some of her favorite memories growing up happened in the kitchen with her grandmother, and "some of the best times with family now are spent at the dinner table." That's what inspired her to open restaurants where she promises guests are treated like family.

"Coming to Paula Deen's Family Kitchen is the next best thing to coming to my own home and having me cook for you," says "the Queen of Southern Cuisine." "I hope when people walk through the doors, they immediately can feel the Southern hospitality! If you're comfortable, treated like family and leave feeling full, then we've done our job."

"Paula personally visited Branson and knew it would be a wonderful fit for her family-style dining concept," adds Mark Prior, director of operations for Paula Deen's Family Kitchens, including the sixth one opening soon on Branson Landing Boulevard. "We want our guests to experience Southern hospitality and good food, and with the large crowds already visiting Branson to spend time together, it was a perfect match."

FYI

Coming Soon!

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

545 Branson Landing Blvd.

pauladeensfamilykitchen.com

The words "Southern" and "hospitality" show up frequently whenever Deen is involved, as do the concepts of tradition, family and food as connection and comfort.

"Some of my favorite memories growing up happened in the kitchen with Grandma Paul, and some of the best times with family now are spent at the dinner table," Deen says. "If I can be the one to cook and bring people together, that's what makes me the happiest. I've done this with my own family at home, and now I get to share that tradition with people all over the country at my restaurants.

"We opened the doors to our very first Family Kitchen in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, which is a place where people come from all over to spend time together," she recalls. "When I came to Branson, I noticed it had the same feel. I knew this would be a perfect spot to put my family-style restaurant because it encourages people to slow down and spend time together over a good meal."

Prior promises no one will leave unsatisfied.

"The family-style concept is sure to make everyone's experience at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen meaningful and unique," he enthuses. "Guests help themselves to endless portions of delicious Southern food as they pass dishes around with family and friends in a setting that feels like home. Entree, side dish and dessert recipes are pulled from the pages of Deen's cookbooks, including favorites such as her Southern Fried Chicken and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake."

Deen's official biography recounts that with "her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul, and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering 'lunch-and-love-in-a-bag,' beginning in June 1989, Paula turned around her life by sharing what she knew best -- traditional Southern cooking."

It wasn't long until her food was the talk of the town, and she opened her first restaurant, The Lady and Sons, in 1990. Its success led to her first cookbook, 1998's "The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook" and more than a dozen since then, including her most recent, "Paula Deen's Southern Baking."

In spite of -- or because of -- all the accolades, "the incredible friendships I've made and relationships with loyal fans that I've built along the way are what delight me the most," Deen says. "Putting a smile on someone's face, encouraging a family to gather together, teaching a child to cook -- it's just a blessing. I get to do what I love every single day, and I couldn't be more thankful."

"Just like our name suggests, we are a family" at Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, says Prior. "When you come see us, you'll be greeted with a hearty 'Hey y'all!' and leave feeling as though you were just sitting around your grandma's dinner table. But at the core of what we do, it's the delicious, Southern, comfort food that stands out."

NAN What's Up on 08/25/2019

Print Headline: Southern Hospitality

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