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Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s made its television debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network in the fall of 2011. It’s a docu-series that follows the lives of Miss Robbie Montgomery and her family as they struggle to run their soul food restaurant all the while expanding their empire. Miss Robbie was once a backup singer and former ‘Ikette,’ with the Ike and Tina Review. After she suffered a lung collapse, she had to retire from singing thus opening her first restaurant in 1996. Her son Tim, his fiancé Jenae and their young son are some of the key players in this reality television series. Her nephew Lil’ Charles, along with Miss Robbie’s other extended family members, document the highs and lows of working with family and running a business together.
Here are five other facts about this docu-series that might interest you:
They hire ex-cons– It’s no secret that Miss Robbie’s son Tim Norman, spent 10 years in prison for armed robbery. Since his release, he’s busied himself at his mother’s restaurant working his way up to becoming part owner of the franchise. The duo regularly hires ex-cons believing that everyone deserves a second chance. Miss Robbie once hired a female ex-con who couldn’t find a job after she left prison in her home state. The woman traveled all the way from Alabama to St. Louis for the interview. Miss Robbie and Tim Norman often participate in prison re-entry programs and mentors ex-offenders.
Iyanla Vanzant was called to fix their lives– Variety.com reports that in 2012, there was so much turmoil on the set of Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s between the cast and filming crew, that production was almost halted. The future of the show at the time was up in the air and the OWN Network was unsure whether or not they wanted to continue to film the series. At the forefront of the problems with the crew was Tim Norman who was so stressed out during that time with his fiancé, new kid, and running three restaurants. Life coach Iyanla Vanzant was finally called in. She sat down with the family and had a private intervention to help soothe the behind the scene issues that plagued the family.
The drama is real– Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s document real life drama that affects many families across America—which is one of the reasons why the show is so popular. Miss Robbie and Tim frequently bump heads on camera, and Miss Robbie often states that she “does not like” her son. But despite having disdain for each other, the two really do love one another and have each other’s backs. Miss Robbie has credited Tim with being her inspiration for opening her first restaurant.
They had a hard knock life– Miss Robbie repeatedly talks about the difficult times she went through with her son Tim. They both have spent many years homeless, sleeping on the floors of various relatives homes. Look at them now!
Humble beginnings– Miss Robbie is the eldest of 9 children, so she had to learn how to cook. While traveling on the road as a singer in the 1960’s, she says that most of the areas she went to were segregated and didn’t allow Black people to eat at their establishments, so she started cooking on an electric skillet in the hotel rooms she would stay in, and people were impressed with her culinary skills.