OWN hosted an advance preview, where Miss Robbie and co. served up some of their savory southern charm, and the outspoken matriarch revealed to EUR that fans can expect to watch as her family adjusts to the new restaurant while she and Tim continue to bump heads.
When you reflect on the family dynamic before you signed up to do a reality show, compared to now, how has the family grown over the seasons?
Miss Robbie: As a family, now we realize that we sort of depend on each other, and each one is just as important as the other one. I’m the matriarch but without me, or them, this would not be possible. We need each other, and so as we go, we learn that. Everybody is important, not just you.
Have you considered opening up a location in Chicago?
Miss Robbie: Don’t say it around Tim, he’ll be there. Tim wants to spread them all over the world. I’m kind of complacent. I’m glad to be back home with my family, and I want to stay there. I don’t mind going with him to open them and make sure that they’re working He’s young and he wants to expand the brand, so he’s taking off with wings but me, I’m old fashion. I want to stay home.
When we caught up with Tim, we asked how he envisions the future of the Sweetie Pie’s brand, and he explained that his goal is to make Sweetie Pie’s “the first black owned and operated franchise.”
“We don’t have a black owned and operated franchise, nationally,” he said. “I would like for Sweetie Pie’s to be that. You have Panda Express and McDonald’s but black culture, we don’t have our own franchise, so I would like for it to be Sweetie Pie’s.”
What makes Sweetie Pie’s the best soul food compared to other brands?
Miss Robbie: I’d like to think I’m the best because I care. I make sure I’m in my kitchen – making sure these chefs put out all the best food and if they mess it up, I’ll get back there and show them how to redo it. I work in my restaurants all the time. I’ll do whatever it takes to make this a success and make sure my customers are happy because without my customers, it wouldn’t be possible. I love being there and them saying, ‘Oh, Miss Robbie, this is good!’. I don’t get it right all the time, but I try.
You and Tim have remarked how the response from California customers has been quite amusing, with folks questing everything from sugar content – to gluten-free options. Was the response surprising?
Miss Robbie: Kinda. My thing is, we’re soul food. You know that when you come. We’re open to criticism but you can’t please everybody. Maybe we might think about starting (soul food) vegan. No sugar, no salt. No butter. I can’t image eating with no butter. No ham hocks in the greens. That ain’t gon’ taste right. Soul Food is our specialty and we stick to it. That’s what we know and that’s what we like to do.
When we first met Charles, you had to stay in his butt. He didn’t want to get his hands dirty. Now he’s stepping up to the plate. What’s changed?
Miss Robbie: I think him being out here on his own. He feels responsible for himself. He ain’t got Aunt Robbie there or his momma to help pay his bills. He’s on his own. I think he’s realizing that. He said to me the other day, ‘I gotta get another job.’ He needs two jobs! Thank you, Jesus. This boy is opening his eyes, and we glad, cause you wanna know that if something happens to you, that somebody in the family can keep this going.
“Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” airs Saturdays on OWN at 9/8c.