Food and Dining

Gooey gobs of mashed potatoes will no longer be part of the casino buffet experience at Horseshoe Southern Indiana across the river in Elizabeth—at least not with the Paula Deen branding attached to it.

Horseshoe’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment, has announced that Deen and the casino chain aren’t renewing the contract after she admitted  to using the N-word, as revealed by the National Inquirer in a report on  her deposition for a discrimination lawsuit.

The statement:

“While we appreciate Paula’s sincere apologies for statements she made in her past that she recently disclosed during a deposition given in response to a lawsuit, after thoughtful consideration of their impact, we have mutually decided that it is in the best interests of both parties to part ways at this time,” said Jan Jones Blackhurst, executive vice president of communications and government affairs for Caesars Entertainment.

Deen insisted today that she’s not racist on the Today show.

Not long after the national furor over the Enquirer’s report (and Deen’s subsequent handling), a Horseshoe spokeswoman told The Courier-Journal: “Locally, Paula has had thousands of personal interactions with our diverse community of team members and guests and has always been kind and gracious to all.”

The Paul Deen branding for the Horseshoe buffet followed the casino’s reimagining from a Rome-inspired Caesars to the more down home, country Horseshoe.

The buffet opened with  intense marketing—Deen’s face was plastered on billboards across the city. 

The Paula Deen Buffet was a monument to culinary decadence, perhaps even by casino standards.

At the time, I was writer for Velocity and The Courier-Journal. So I took a couple of trips to the casino to check it. There was so much food in so much butter. So, so much butter. I’ll let 2010 me describe further:

Mashed potatoes floating in a pond of shimmering melted butter. Gravy made lumpy with giblets or, well, something. A pan of green beans that made me wonder if it were the only dish that didn’t contain meat. And the cook who moments later placed a softball-size rump of meat atop said green beans. Succulent and flavorful slices of meatloaf with a layer of runny cheese atop them. Fried green tomatoes that were more fried batter than tomato. The sight of people queued up 30- and 40-deep at 4 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. Patrons carrying loaded plates that only a farmboy or marathon runner would be able to consume without mainlining fat right to their guts and rumps. Those same plates, wiped clean save for bones and gristle, with abandon.

There were four Paula Deen Buffets at Horseshoe casinos across the country. They’ll be rebranded in the “coming months,” Caesars said.

It’s not entirely clear if Horseshoe will keep the same sort of menu but without the Deen branding, or if it will have a completely new concept. 

We’ve asked and will update when we get an answer.