Sweetie Pie’s is soul food heaven. Being from the north, I didn’t grow up on sweet potatoes, fried chicken and okra – but this place makes me wish I had. Given both the Guy Fieri Triple-D and Oprah seal of approval, how could it not be good? Plus, with its own show, Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, (on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network) at the very least the cast of characters would be interesting.
We read on Yelp that the line to eat at Sweetie Pie’s can be up to 90-minutes deep. We re-arranged our schedule to hit the restaurant during off-peak hours to avoid the wait. Arriving at around 2:30 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon seemed to do the trick. The restaurant was full, but there was virtually no line.
Instead of ordering from a menu, guests at Sweetie Pie’s grab a tray and go through a cafeteria-style line. First, you’ll choose your meat and then move along to select sides to go along with it. The cornbread is gratis, and comes with all combo meals. The meat + three sides combo runs around $10-$15, depending on the meat you order. It’s enough food so that nobody leaves hungry, and most will either be stuffed to the gills or have a lot left on their plate.
I tasted my husband’s fried chicken, but my favorite main course was my own braised oxtail. It was flavorful and falling off the bone, with the kind of flavor that reminds you of Sunday dinner at Grandma’s house. Sides don’t play second fiddle at Sweetie Pie’s. My favorite side was the macaroni and cheese. Far from cafeteria-style mac and cheese, Sweetie Pie’s was a rich blend of real cheddar and spices, not processed, bland goop. It reminded me of my own macaroni and cheese (if you’re looking for a copycat Sweetie Pie’s Macaroni and Cheese, try my recipe and let me know what you think). The sweet potatoes were also divine, and sweet enough to be eaten as a dessert.
Staff was friendly and added to the fun, casual atmosphere. I admit I have not seen Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, so I didn’t recognize anyone – although they were happily taking pictures with guests that did.
Sweetie Pie’s at The Mangrove
St. Louis, MO 63110