How I really feel about Paula Dean’s Restaurant


Paula Dean was known to be the queen of southern cooking when I was growing up. Deep fried and buttered, she made sure all her food was flavorful and delicious (not healthy) at least it seemed that way from watching her cook on t.v.

Recently, on a trip to Tennessee I convinced my family to go to her restaurant. We aren’t super big on all you can eat places which typically means a buffet but we thought the family concept that her restaurants uses was pretty cool.

We went during lunch so prices start at $20 a person and the price goes up for each meat you choose. We decided on 3 meats: fried chicken, fried catfish, and the smothered pork chops. 

With that we got 4 sides of our picking. We chose Mac & cheese, Black Eyed Peas, Mashed Potatoes, and Collard Greens.

The food is served to you in dishes to share with the whole table and you pick out what you want and put it on your individual plate. You are able to have unlimited amounts of each item including the bread. They are very strict though about take out, absolutely no to go boxes! You will see signs in the restaurant and reminders of this policy on the menu.

The concept of family style is really cool the execution unfortunately left much to be desired.

They start you off with cheesy bacon biscuits. They were soft and gooey not firm at all. You couldn’t pick up a whole one from the basket with out it falling completely apart. They were really yummy.

For the main meal let me first start with what tasted amazing and that surprisingly was the black eyed peas! It actually wasn’t a side that I wanted to choose but they were cooked perfectly. I would also say, the collard greens were pretty delicious as well.

As far as the Mac & Cheese it was mediocre and the mashed potatoes were weird and disgusting. To be fair they were described on the menu as creamed potatoes which I have never eaten before. I just didn’t expect them to be watery and soupy, so if that’s what creamed potatoes taste like, they nailed it.

Also, just to note this is not a restaurant for someone who is vegetarian. All of the sides besides the Mac & Cheese and the Potatoes had meat cooked with it.

Now for the meats, to be 100% honest we didn’t really like any of them. The worst of the 3 was by far the pork chops. I know in southern cooking sometimes chefs can go a little heavier on the salt but these pork chops were inedible! I just couldn’t believe how salty they were, I literally could not even eat a whole one.

The chicken and the catfish were also too salty but at least you could eat them. Any flavor they may have had was drowned out by the taste of salt mixed with large amounts of grease. The chicken was the least disgusting of the 3 but certainly nothing to brag about.

Lastly, you get to choose a dessert. I’m not a huge fan of banana pudding but I tried a spoonful of my dad’s and I thought it was pretty good. I personally got the brownie and it was very delicious! It was big and very chocolaty but not in traditional brownie sense. It’s hard to explain because it wasn’t “fudgy” but it was chocolaty with chocolate chips stuffed inside. I really enjoyed it.

All and all the price for the amount of food you get is fantastic but we didn’t even eat seconds of any of the meats because it tasted so bad. So in my opinion the price is not worth it to only have bread, vegetables, and dessert.

I hate to write bad reviews but I always want to be honest with you all because I don’t want you to waste your money. I know she has a few restaurants in different cities, the one we went to was in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. So it could be possible that another locations food taste better (I truly hope so!).  

I would love to know if you have eaten at one of her restaurants and what your thoughts on it are, feel free to let me know in the comments below!