ABOVE PHOTO: “Welcome To Sweetie Pies” Cast (L-R: Lil Charles, Jazzmin, Tim, Janae, Miss Robbie).
Los Angeles–Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s highly-anticipated new family docu-series premieres on Saturday, October 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT (8 p.m. CT) and takes viewers inside the close-knit Montgomery clan from St. Louis as they attempt to balance the daily demands of their lives while expanding the family-owned business. Featuring an African-American cast, Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s is a heartwarming depiction of a hardworking, colorful and loving family, and demonstrates how good food, prepared with love, brings people together from all walks of life.
“Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s features a strong, fun-loving family as they work together to run their St. Louis soul food restaurant. We look forward to viewers welcoming the Montgomery family into their homes,” said Lisa Erspamer, executive vice president, programming and development, OWN.
The show focuses on the family’s matriarch, Sweetie Pie’s owner Robbie Montgomery, a one-time backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and Patti LaBelle, who honed her world famous fare utilizing her mother’s coveted soul food recipes to feed her band mates on tour during the segregated 60’s – a time when finding restaurants that would serve African-Americans with dignity was a difficult task.
After a health scare ended her singing career, Montgomery (best known as “Miss Robbie”) sold her delicious dishes from the trunk of her car before opening her first Sweetie Pie’s eatery 15 years ago with the help of her family. Eight years later, Miss Robbie opened her second, roomier location in the Mangrove neighborhood.
Featured on foodie favorite “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” Sweetie Pie’s is a local landmark for those seeking down-home comfort food prepared by Montgomery’s expert hand, and a favorite destination for visiting celebrities and dignitaries. The eatery has attracted notable diners such as sports icon and business mogul Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Oscar-winning actress and talk show host Mo’Nique and even President Barack Obama. Miss Robbie, known for her quick wit, big heart and no-nonsense approach says, “Everyone comes to Sweetie Pie’s. All races, people from all over the world. The one thing they all have in common is that they are all hungry.”
Her motto is “This family means business!” and her frequent sayings like “If it don’t make money, it don’t make sense,” pepper the show’s dialogue with a spiciness that gives viewers a glimpse into Miss Robbie’s larger-than-life persona, and account for her widespread popularity in the St. Louis community.
Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s also introduces viewers to the supporting cast of colorful characters in Montgomery’s life: there’s her son and business manager Tim Norman, Robbie’s ‘right hand’ and a former ladies’ man whose youthful brush with street life and the resulting consequences inspired him to mentor and help others; Tim’s longtime girlfriend, the beautiful, no-nonsense Jenae who is also expecting their first child; Miss Robbie’s nephew Lil’ Charles, a charismatic slacker who she has a soft spot for, but complains he “works hard at not working.”
Viewers also get to know other key members of the Sweetie Pie’s crew, such as kitchen manager ‘Pops’ who often provides old-school advice and serves as a voice of wisdom for the Montgomery family and other staff, and Jazzmin, who sometimes challenges Tim’s management skills with her insubordinate attitude.
Montgomery’s co-star son, Tim, adds a comedic edge when discussing the importance of the restaurants to his mother. “Sweetie Pie’s is my mother’s other son; definitely my mother’s favorite child,” he quips. Having just turned 71 years young, Miss Robbie is about to give birth to her third location. She’s currently awaiting a $3.8 million dollar business loan to open her biggest and most ambitious restaurant yet, Sweetie Pie’s: The Upper Crust. There’s a special significance for her to opening this location – she’ll be creating a world-class restaurant complete with an entertainment stage and private dining space, while owning land in a part of town that was unwelcoming to people of color during her upbringing in St. Louis.
Tim worries about the high stress levels this latest venture may cause his mother, but he supports her nonetheless. The hour-long debut, the first of the eight-episode premiere season, follows Miss Robbie as she juggles the chaos of running her popular St. Louis soul food restaurants while dealing with her boisterous family. While helping her to manage the restaurants, her son Tim also consults friends and family for advice as he gets up the courage to propose to his pregnant girlfriend Jenae.
Audiences also learn that getting the business loan to allow for her planned expansion of the Sweetie Pie’s empire may not go as Miss Robbie planned. Over the course of the season, we see Miss Robbie opening herself to the possibility of love and marriage despite her senior citizen status; planning her annual birthday bash, which will include a reunion performance of the Ikettes; and dealing with a family medical emergency and the birth of a grandchild.