Celebrity chef Paula Deen brought Southern cooking to Harrah's Casino in downtown Joliet Thursday at the opening of her new restaraunt.
The Food Channel star opened Paula Deen’s Kitchen, drawing in hundreds of hungry fans for the launch. In its first hour of opening the restaurant seated 220 people and reservations were already booked full into the weekend.
"To have a restaurant like this north of the border, so to speak, and to have it here in Joliet is phenomenal,” said Joliet Mayor Tom Giarrante according to TribLocal Joliet.
On the menu was an array of classic Southern dishes including fried chicken, crab cakes, ribs, shrimp, grits, and sweet tea. Customers also had the option of choosing items from the buffet at serving stations called Hoecakes and Cheesy Biscuits, Dean’s Bubba Barbecue, Granny Paula’s Garden, Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, The Lady and Sons and Little Jack’s Corner.
“I belong to wherever people are that appreciate good food,” said Deen, according to the South Town Star.
The staff at the restaurant also took part in a training class on Southern hospitality, serving every meal with a side of famous Southern charm.
Although the restaurant is Deen’s sixth in the nation, it is the first to be opened in the North.
Paula Deen’s Kitchen is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
Menus will also be available online at www.HarrahsJoliet.com in the upcoming weeks.