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FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 photo, Paula Deen poses for a portrait in New York. Deen’s comeback trail is leading her to the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee. The Savannah, Ga.-based celebrity cook announced Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, she’s opening a new restaurant, Paula Deen’s Kitchen, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. (AP Photo/Carlo Allegri, File)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Paula Deen's comeback trail is leading her to the Smoky Mountains of east Tennessee.

The Savannah, Ga.-based celebrity cook announced Wednesday she's opening a new restaurant, Paula Deen's Kitchen, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. A hub for tourists visiting the Dollywood theme park and the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge draws about 10 million vacationers a year.

Paula Deen Ventures, a new company launched to manage Deen's comeback after she acknowledged past use of racial slurs in a lawsuit last year, said it's pouring $20 million into the 20,000-square-foot restaurant. Earlier this month, Deen's company announced it's getting at least $75 million from a private investment firm.

Deen lost four buffet restaurants in casinos operated by Caesars Entertainment last year during the fallout from the controversy.


(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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