Archive for June 15th, 2012

The Captain Samples The Upper Crust

Meg and I are both huge fans of Welcome To Sweetie Pies on OWN. Not only is the program highly entertaining, it’s the reason that Oprah Winfrey came to visit St. Louis. Meg would’ve never met Oprah if it wasn’t for Sweetie Pies. The second season of the reality show has focused on the opening of the family’s third restaurant, Upper Crust. The grand opening of the new restaurant was at the end of May, so we decided to give Miss Robbie and company a few weeks to iron out the kinks before visiting the establishment. Meg and I went there for lunch this week and learned a few things that we didn’t know, which is today’s subject for #Friday5

Top 5 Things I Learned At Sweetie Pies Upper Crust

1. The recipe stayed the same
Upper Crust serves the same glorious soul food as the original two restaurants. It’s served cafeteria style and it all looks delicious. Here’s what we chose.



I went with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes and cornbread. Meg chose baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and cornbread. Of course we shared our food with each other, by which I mean that Meg attacked my macaroni and cheese as soon as we sat down. It was all delicious and quite filling, which made for a long, slow afternoon. But it was definitely worth the trip food wise. I recommend you eat at Upper Crust.

2. Miss Robbie enjoys paintings of herself
The décor in the restaurant was similar to the Mangrove Sweetie Pies, albeit a touch classier. The biggest differences were the several paintings of Miss Robbie spread throughout the restaurant. Here’s Meg with the painting by the front door.



While they weren’t the only decorations, Miss Robbie’s face was noticeable in almost every direction. But to be fair, if I were to open the restaurant of my dreams then pictures of me would line all of the walls too.

3. Upper Crust was built with the television show in mind
From the moment we walked in the building, it was obvious that this place was being filmed. A camera man actually held the door open for us! The film crew was all over the restaurant the entire hour we were there, often just wandering around like this.



We noticed pretty quickly that they kept coming in and out of a side room near the entrance. I peeked into the room and saw what looked like a small production studio. I tried to snap a picture, but the camera man must’ve seen me because he closed the door.



Still, it was pretty obvious from the layout of the restaurant and the overhead lighting that the building was designed for ease of filming. Considering the show’s popularity it seems like a wise decision.

4. Lil’ Charles actually works hard
When we first entered Upper Crust there was a long line that wasn’t moving, and no one knew why. After a few minutes Lil’ Charles came out to make an announcement. Apparently someone forgot to bring the key to the cash register so the staff was unable to open it. So they were unable to accept cash at the moment, and were only able to swipe credit cards until Miss Robbie showed up with a key. Luckily this wasn’t a problem for any of the customers I saw.
As soon as the announcement was over several people in line asked Lil’ Charles to pose with them for a picture. He graciously smiled with several folks in line until everyone got their picture. For those who don’t watch the show, Charles is portrayed as the charming but lazy nephew of Robbie. His tag line is that he works hard at not working.



I thought he might come off as aloof in person, but he was remarkably courteous to everyone in line. Afterwards he was hard at work figuring out how to solve the cash register problem. Maybe the kid does know how to work; then again we were only there for an hour…

5. The day to day restaurant part of the show is real
I assume that all reality shows are at least partially fake. And Welcome To Sweetie Pie’s certainly has moments that come off as staged, particularly the family drama portions of the show. But the day to day operations of the restaurant have always looked genuine to me, and they do even more so now that I’ve seen a live taping. It was obvious to me that the problem with the locked cash register was real, mostly based on the movements of the camera crew. The restaurants employees went about their business in trying to solve the problem and the camera crew scrambled to capture the action as it was happening. As you can see from this picture, the camera crew was intrusive



But they didn’t stage anything. And it’s this real life working restaurant story that makes the program so successful in my book. But don’t take my word for it; you should head on down to Upper Crust and see for yourself. The restaurant is open for business and the cameras are rolling. Come downtown for the show and stay for the soul food!

The Captain

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