Tag - Sweetie Pie’s

Celebrate National Mac and Cheese Day Friday

Where to Find the Best Mac and Cheese in St. Louis

St. Louis, MO/July 13, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) — National Mac and Cheese Day is upon us.  Of all the celebrated food holidays and observances, this is one of our favorites in my family.  Macaroni and cheese is a simple combination of noodles, butters, and cheese that comes in a multitude of variations.  Mac and cheese can be made with a variety of cheeses, from mild to sharp, tangy to smoked, and everything in between.  It can be an artisan creation that blends familiar flavors with exotic ingredients.  Or a homey dish of cheese, butter, milk, and pasta that is as warm and satisfying as it is simple.

The origins of this classic dish are a disputed matter.  James Beard Foundation cookbook winner Clifford A.  Wright says, “there can be no doubt that its ultimate origins are Italian.”  As proof, he cites a 13th century cookbook recipe for a dish that calls for lasagna noodles to be cut into squares, cooked, and tossed with grated cheese.  Food 52 says the dish may be French in origin.  Dishes combining dough or pasta, cheese, and butter appear in several 14th century cookbooks across Italy, France, and even England’s The Forme of Cury.  American-style mac and cheese may date back to the eighteenth century.  Smithsonian Magazine says, “it most likely hails from Northern Europe, with the earliest known recorded recipe being scribbled down in 1769.”

It’s not even clear how Americans came to know this classic comfort food.  Some food historians credit Thomas Jefferson with bringing macaroni and cheese to the U.S. after a European trip that took him to Italy and France.  Others say colonists in Connecticut introduced a creamy casserole form of mac and cheese, having brought the recipe with them from England.  No matter how it got here, macaroni and cheese has become a classic—if not the quintessential American comfort food.

Most of us grew up with the blue boxed macaroni and cheese with it’s convenient combination of elbow macaroni and dried cheese sauce mix.  It was weeknight fast, and surprisingly tasty.  It was the only mac and cheese my mom ever made.  I loved the stuff, right up until the cafeteria at my elementary school began serving their version of macaroni and cheese at lunch time.  The creamy, buttery, white cheddar and Velveeta-based, baked casserole was made by the lunch ladies at South Elementary School in Fairborn, Ohio—and it put the boxed kind to shame.  It was creamy and cheesy, with the perfect toasty cheese crust on top.  If that mac and cheese was sold in a St. Louis restaurant, I would eat there every day.

Fortunately for mac and cheese lovers across the metro area, there are a lot of local restaurants that do justice to this American mainstay.  Some local eateries offer their takes on this classic as side dishes to accompany fried chicken, steak, or barbecue mains, or on their kids’ menus.  Other places feature mac and cheese as an entree that stands on its own.  Across town, you’ll find mac and cheese stirred into a creamy, saucy dish; baked under a blanket of buttery, crispy breadcrumbs; and topped with everything from bacon to asparagus relish.  You’ll even find crispy mac and cheese balls (Lotawata Creek in Fairview Heights), and a smoked gouda mac and cheese hand pie (Saturdays only at Pint Size Bakery in Lindenwood Park).

Since Friday, June 14th is National Mac and Cheese Day, we thought we’d point you to a few St. Louis restaurants that do this creamy comfort food justice.  Each has its own version of the noodle, butter, cheese combo that makes their mac and cheese worth the trip.  Here are our recommendations for five places that offer exceptional interpretations of this homespun comfort food favorite:

1. Sweetie Pies makes the mac and cheese of my dreams.  This is the closest approximation I have found to the old elementary school lunch ladies’ version I fell in love with all those years ago.  It’s super cheesy, creamy, and baked with a toasty cheese crust (no breadcrumbs), and simply delicious.  Miss Robbie Montgomery, founder of Sweetie Pie’s soul food restaurants (and one of the stars of the reality TV show Welcome to Sweetie Pies on OWN) has even shared the secrets to her signature Mac and Cheese.

VIDEO: Miss Robbie Montgomery shows Food Network’s Guy Fieri how to make Sweetie Pie’s Mac and Cheese.

There have been several iterations of Sweetie Pie’s Restaurants over the years. Currently, you’ll find this incredible mac and cheese at Sweetie Pie’s The Upper Crust, 3643 Delmar Blvd. in St. Louis’ Grand Center neighborhood.

2. Steve’s Hot Dogs at 2131 Marconi Ave. on The Hill is known for two things, hot dogs, as the name suggests, and mac and cheese.  They offer the great American comfort food five ways, from the unadorned, silky “Madeline Mac & Cheese Bowl” to the decadent layers of rotini, alfredo, parmesan, cheddar, bacon, and fried onion known as “The Macgyver Bowl,” the choices offer a little something for everyone.  At Steve’s you can get mac and cheese topped with bacon, or chili.  They even have a sweet and spice combo called the “Kevin Bacon Jamaican Bowl” which starts with a slice of pepper jack that’s topped with Mac & Cheese, honey chipotle, crisscrossed bacon slices, grilled bell peppers and then more bacon.  Can’t decide between a hot dog and mac and cheese? Have a Gorilla Mac & Cheese Dog: a smoked Nathan’s hotdog, topped with creamy mac and cheese, bacon, and French fried onions.

3. Mak’s Pub and Grub is a family owned bar and grill that specializes in gourmet “Mak” and Cheese.  The Princeton Heights restaurant (6109 Gravois Ave.) opened last year offering six different, creative versions of macaroni and cheese.  The choices run the gamut from a “Classic Mak” made with their melted four-cheese blend, cavatappi (corkscrew noodles) and toasted pretzel crumbs, to the “Brinner Mak” made with brown sugar bacon, hash brown, a sunny side egg, and corn flakes.  You can even get mac and cheese stuffed into a grilled cheese sandwich!

4. The Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Herbie’s is legendary.  This dinner menu entree is a brilliant combination of lobster tail, four-cheese mornay, asiago gratin, corn, and truffle oil.  Since July 14th is also Bastille Day, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate America’s favorite comfort food than ordering the Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese at Herbie’s (8100 Maryland Ave, Clayton) French-inspired American bistro.

5. The Thai Pork Mac N’ Cheese at the Walnut Grill is something special.  It’s loaded with four cheese alfredo and smoked gouda, then topped with Thai-seasoned pulled pork, asparagus relish, and sweet chili sauce.  Not exactly a traditional mix of flavors, this mac and cheese is creamy, smoky, spicy, and oh so delicious.  Walnut Grill is a boutique restaurant chain based in Pittsburgh, Penn.  There are currently two locations in St. Louis (1386 Clarkson Clayton Center in Ellisville and 4401 State Hwy K in O’Fallon, MO), with a new Sunset Hills location (10797 Sunset Hills Plaza) set to open in August.

Bonus Pick: Mangia Italiano at 3145 South Grand Blvd in south St, Louis offers a baked lobster mac and cheese that can be ordered with gluten free pasta.  You’d never guess this rich and creamy dish is gluten free.

More Drama Over Settlement in Sweetie Pies Suit

Sweetie Pies

Sweetie Pies Files Motion Over Settlement Issues

St. Louis, MO/March 4, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – A legal battle between mother and son that has been the subject of the courts and reality TV has taken another turn.  Sweetie Pie’s founder Robbie Montgomery first opened her soul food restaurant in 1996. Since then she and son Tim Norman have built the business into a St. Louis classic and a national brand.  The restaurant became famous in 2011 when it became the subject and setting for a reality television show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN television network.  As OWN describes it, “Welcome to Sweetie Pies follows the loud, loving and musical Montgomery family as they struggle with the demands of expanding their family-owned St. Louis business.” That has included the legal battle between mother and son.

After outgrowing the original location at 9841 West Florissant in Dellwood, Sweetie Pie’s opened two new locations: Sweetie Pie’s The Upper Crust at 3643 Delmar Blvd. in Grand Center, and Sweetie Pie’s at the Mangrove at 4270 Manchester Ave. in the Grove District.  The original Dellwood location reopened in May 2016 after being closed for more than three years.  Several weeks later, in July, Sweetie Pie’s at the Mangrove on Manchester closed (header picture).

That’s also about the time Montgomery filed a lawsuit accusing her son of taking money from the accounts of the Mangrove restaurant and using it to open restaurants in Berkeley, Florissant and North Hollywood, California.  The suit also accused Norman of violating Sweetie Pie’s trademarks in naming the restaurants “TJ’s Sweetie Pie’s Noho” (North Hollywood, California), “TJ’s Sweetie Pie’s Airport” (Berkeley) and “Sweetie Pie’s Kitchen” (Florissant).  Montgomery claims her son used the trademarked Sweetie Pie’s name without her permission.

On Friday, March 3, 2017, an attorney for Montgomery filed a motion in her trademark-infringement suit that outlines a potential settlement agreement she had reached with her son.  It also alleges that he’s breached that agreement.  The motion asks the court to enforce the settlement agreement Montgomery’s attorney says the two sides reached Dec. 31, 2016.  In a supporting memorandum filed with the motion, Montgomery’s attorney argues that Norman should be required to abide by the agreement since it was his attorneys who had pushed for settlement in December.  The memorandum states that as a condition of that December agreement, Norman would close the restaurants he’d opened in St. Louis, and his Los Angeles restaurants would become licensees of Sweetie Pie’s, paying five-percent of gross sales for use of the name.  It also stipulated that Norman would not open any new restaurants using the Sweetie Pie’s name.

Norman has made no secret of his desire to see Sweetie Pie’s soul food restaurants franchised across the nation.  He says he opened his TJ’s Sweetie Pie’s locations “to test his theory.”  Since that December settlement was reached, his St. Louis area locations have closed.  The North Hollywood restaurant and two in Inglewood, Calif. remain open. Norman has also opened a new Sweetie Pies in Houston, despite the settlement agreement.  On February 26th Norman even tweeted about the last round of hirings before the official grand opening of the new Sweetie Pies at 6356 Richmond in Houston.

It’s not clear if or when a judge might rule on the motion.  It’s also unclear if the parties will return to the negotiating table.  In November Montgomery had told Ebony Magazine that the lawsuit is just business.  Of her son she said, “I still love him, but we don’t agree on business.”  Despite an attempt at settlement, it seems that disagreement is going to linger at least for the time being.


Sweetie Pie’s


St Louis, MO (STL.News) – Sweetie Pie’s is reopened its doors at its Dellwood location, 9841 West Florissant Avenue, on May 6, 2016.

This is great for the North County area of St Louis, showing that the city is rebuilding after the Ferguson events and starting a positive momentum of business growth back in the area.

Sweetie Pie’s has other locations at the Mangrove at 4270 Manchester Avenue, St Louis in the Grove, Upper Crust in Grandcenter at 3643 Delmar Boulevard, and a location in Florissant at 8180 North Lindbergh Boulevard.

Before moving to St Louis, Robbie Montgomery (“Miss Robbie”) grew up in Mississippi. She was responsible for preparing dinner for the family that included eight other children. Working with her mom in their kitchen, she learned how to prepare made from scratch soul food. The restaurant has become a landmark destination for those visiting St Louis. Before making it big with her restaurant, Miss Robbie was a backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner.

Sweetie Pie’s St Louis was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Source: STL.News