BAY COUNTY, Fla. — A new restaurant in Panama City Beach officially opened on Thursday. Both the Bay County and Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce were on hand to welcome the business.

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen opened its doors at the beginning of April but the southern style restaurant cut the ribbon Thursday morning.

Paula Deen made the trip to Pier Park to join in on the celebration. She says her family spent tons of time here over the years and that’s why she’s wanted to open a restaurant in the area.

She says even though the plans were in place before Hurricane Michael, Deen says it’s great she’s able to help bring jobs into the area as it rebuilds.

“I feel like it’s now bringing people much much further away than it used to in 1965 so I feel like I’m getting to touch a lot of people that I wouldn’t necessarily get to feed,” said Deen. 

Deen will also be hosting a book signing on Friday. To see more details on the book signing, click here

Deen also made a stop to the Panama City Rescue Mission, donating thousands to Bethel Village.

Bethel Village is specific to helping women and children. Deen says this is the same focus for her foundation, ‘The Bag Lady’ that she created in 2012.

Deen says this foundation is named after the first business she ever had and thankful to be able to continue helping those in need. “When I started the foundation, I really wanted to go back to my roots so we named her ‘The Bag Lady Foundation’ so I’m thankful to fulfill my promises through ‘The Bag Lady’ to people that need help.”

The foundation donated $2, 5000 dollars to the mission.

To learn more about the Panama City Rescue Mission, click here