Yesterday I did something that I should have done a long time ago... I went to Sweetie Pie's on Manchester. This restaurant has been taunting me for some time. In 2008 they were voted best soul food in St. Louis by the RFT as well as having their signature mac n cheese featured on the foodnetwork. If this wasn't enough motivation to go to the restaurant it is also conveniently located only five minutes away from SLU, nestled in the up-incoming area appropriately deemed "The Grove." So when I was trying to think of something cute and fun to do with my girlfriends for Valentine's day the idea of going to "Sweetie Pie's with my sweetie pies" was a no brainer. I have to say I was not disappointed.
All the reviews of the establishment led me to think that it was sit-down service style, but upon arrival I was taken aback by the cafeteria line that was splayed out in-front of me. Sweetie's is open from 6:30AM to 8:00PM Monday thru Saturday and gathering from what I saw if you wanna get fed you come early. The line got pretty long around 6:00PM. Once you get in line you have a choice of one of the 5 specials of the day and then you can pick 2 or 3 of the "vegetables." It was Friday so fish was on the line twice and there were also 2 chicken options and then they had Spaghetti for the undecided. Making my way through that line was mighty hard. I wanted to try it all, but alas I stuck with baked chicken, mashed potatoes, mac n cheese, cornbread and a sweet tea. At the end of the line you pay (whole meal with drink was $12 and they say that credit/debit can only be used with purchase of $10 or more) and then your waiter graciously takes your food and seats you. Once we sat down the real treat began.
There just isn't enough praise I can give these people. Sweetie Pie's serves up hot delicious food and makes it look so easy. Surprisingly my guests and I were not that impressed by the mac n cheese, which we all thought would be the real winner. It was a good dish and perhaps my prejudice arose from the fact that I got the last helping out of a large chafing dish that should have been taken off the line before I was served. Nonetheless the composition and the mixtures of the cheeses were good. I could spot an obvious cheddar and the presence of sour cream. The topping on the mac was unexpected, it wasn't simply a crust of cheese it was more complex and delicious. I also had the baked chicken, which was delectable and moist. The seasoning rub under the skin was great. I also tried some of their fried wings and I wasn't that impressed. Again I think I have a bias when it comes to fried chicken. I like mine juicy and breaded with spice. This was more of a dry batter that didn't allow for the chicken to retain a lot of moisture, but it was still decent. I loved their cornbread. I think I managed to eat mine and almost everyone else at the tables. You can tell the recipe has been perfected over the years because more often than not making cornbread in a large quantities can turn out disastrous (or at least it has for me). I also have to comment on how great the sweet tea and lemonade were. My friends couldn't stop raving, well they did stop once they drank vast amounts and realized they were drinking pure sugar. We did manage to make one amazing Arnold Palmer out of both of them though.
Overall I thought that Sweetie Pie's was good. The staff and people were friendly and helpful (especially when they realized we had no idea how to work the line) and our waiter Clark was on point all night. I definitely will have to give this place another try. There were just too many side dishes that I wasn't able to enjoy (the corn, okra, and greens looked and smelled amazing). I will definitely shelve the mac n cheese next time and spread the love around. I recommend if you are in the area and gotta a taste for something mighty rich you hit up Sweetie Pie's and you should probably take your sweetie pie with you.