© 2012 Harpo, Inc./George Burns
Season 6 of “Welcome to Sweetie Pies” premiered this weekend with a brand new location in North Hollywood, California. Not only does it mean a lot of the St. Louis crew has relocated to the West Coast but now they have to get accustomed to a whole new clientele. At a recent press event, Miss Robbie Montgomery and her son Tim Norman talked about opening Sweetie Pie’s No Ho.
Little did Miss Robbie know that she’d lose part of her hometown crew to the palm tree studded streets of Southern California. “I was amazed that they all moved out here,” she admitted. “I thought they were just coming to open the restaurant but they all moved… So we got another whole new bunch back in St. Louis. Nobody wants to go back. I can’t believe that they left Miss Robbie but they did. Good riddance.”
But Tim conceded that the crew hasn’t seamlessly fit into their new locale. “You guys can imagine a group of people from St. Louis moving out here to L.A. So, it’s kind of a 2015 ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ situation,” laughed Tim.
And yet the Sweetie Pies team is adjusting better to North Hollywood than the health conscious Los Angelinos appear to be warming up to soul food. Tim conceded that the biggest challenge with the new restaurant is getting people to grasp the less than less health conscious nature of southern cooking. “They didn’t want to put salt in it and they didn’t want to put sugar in it… Everybody has their own taste buds. So it was just hard to get these California to adjust to a Southern palette.”
He continued, “Every day we get somebody who comes to the restaurant asking us about gluten, how many calories is in something, how much butter. ‘Is it pork? Do you have any vegan options?’ I tell them, ‘You need to go down the street. This is the wrong place.’” Still, judging by the lines we see at the eatery all the time, we thing the locals are starting to realize just how good cheating on their perpetual diets can taste.
It’s not an unfamiliar problem to Miss Robbie, who recounted that even in St. Louis people have asker her to provide sugar free pie options. “I did that. Nobody, not one person, [bought one]. So we just stick to the script and do what we know.”
Now Miss Robbie is sharing what she knows in a brand new cookbook called “Sweetie Pie's Cookbook: Soulful Southern Recipes, from My Family to Yours.” And it has hit bookstores and online outlets just in time for the holidays. The book comes complete with a pre-planned Thanksgiving menu that might even remind you of what your mama used to make.
Needless to say, Miss Robbie is used to hearing that her food reminds people of their childhoods, explaining, “When all the kids come in the restaurant, they’re like, ‘I haven’t had this since my grandmother died.’ Or, ‘My grandmother made cornbread like this.’ And I’m like, ‘Did you get the recipe?’ And they’re like, ‘No, she’s dead.’
The one time back up singer for Ike and Tina Turner felt it was important to make sure her family knew how to carry on her traditions in the kitchen. “These recipes will be left behind,” she noted. “These are my mom’s recipes, grandmother’s. I got friends’ recipes, things I learned on the road when I was with Ike and Tina. So, I just combined it all and put it in this book and it turned out pretty good. They didn’t use cheap paper.”
With that she added a Miss Robbie style sales pitch to the crowd, “So everybody go out and buy it. Give it out for Christmas so I can make the million-seller list. I want to do that.”
Help Miss Robbie reach her goal by ordering at least one copy of “Sweetie Pie's Cookbook: Soulful Southern Recipes, from My Family to Yours” today. If you’re in North Hollywood, swing in to Sweetie Pies to have some good southern cooking chock full of salt, sugar and butter at 5230 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood. And tune in to “Welcome to Sweetie Pies” every Saturday night at 9 P.M. EST/PST on OWN.