Saturday, August 10, 2019

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Note: This post erroneously reported an extension cord was run across the street to the park.  The cord was on the street but it not cross Congress to the park.  

The long-awaited opening of Sweetie Pie's finally took place yesterday on North Congress Street in the Plaza Building.  Unfortunately, the soul food restaurant closed the same day.  One hears of one-night flops on Broadway but a one-day flop in the restaurant business? The Mississippi Business Journal reported today:

The soul-food eatery opened to a throng of people on Thursday. And it closed Friday morning.


Too much business is the stated reason.

The chain started in St. Louis, expanded to Houston, flirted with Memphis and, thus far, has been jilted in Jackson after a two-year courtship.

It had a five-year run as a reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Tim Norman, an officer in the company and one of the stars of the show, was busy greeting cruising motorists on Congress Street at the intersection with Amite in downtown Jackson mid-afternoon Friday.

He was breaking the news to the curious well-wishers.

Sweetie Pie’s is looking for a new home.

The manager of the property, the Estes Group, shut down the business because the throng that showed up on Thursday disrupted the comings and goings of other tenants in the 12-story skyscraper, which includes two other restaurants, Basil’s and Keifer’s.

Norman said that the business had all of the permits in hand from the city and state needed to open the business, but that the landlord decided to shut down operations.

The capacity of the ground-floor restaurant is about 80, but he said that customers were blocking the exterior doors and access to the elevators.

Norman said that “we were open for about 20 minutes” Friday morning before the building managers told them to shut down.

He said that Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the city would be trying to find a more-suitable place, perhaps in the Farish Street Historic District.

“I love this location,” Norman said.

But in the past 24 hours, the managers “did a complete 180 on us. I don’t think they were expecting the crowd.”... Rest of article.

 Uh-huh, not so fast my friend. The restaurant indeed had permits but there is a "Rest of the story" to this story.  The city of Jackson approved the submitted site plan.  However, there is one piece of equipment essential to preparing the restaurant's cuisine: a smoker.

The Plaza obviously has no space for a smoker.  Sweetie Pie's decided to apply some good ole American ingenuity  to the problem.  However the solution to the problem created another problem.  The restaurant placed the smoker in Smith Park for a couple of weeks.  It placed the smoker on the sidewalk on opening day. Big no-no.

  Sweetie Pie's ran a power extension cord out the front door to the smoker.  The landlord told it remove the cord.  Undeterred,  the restaurant ran the cord out the side door, down Amite street, up Congress Street to the infamous smoker. The city literally pulled the plug. No smoker, no food.  No food, well, you get the idea.

It is JJ's understanding that the Mayor and other entities are trying to find another location downtown for the business that can accommodate the smoker.


Anonymous said...

Its not the Mayor's job to find to find a location for a restaurant. Its amazing nobody thought through these issues before signing a lease. Landlord and tenant both screwed up. Badly.

And yes, I was very much looking forward to trying this out.

Anonymous said...


How did the landlord "screw up?" The tenant misrepresented what how and where he was going to cook. As long as this has been in the works don't tell me the tenant just realized the day before opening that he had nowhere to put a smoker. As usual the landlord is the bad guy, at least in your eyes. I'm glad a new eatery wishes to open in Downtown Jackson, but if this is any indication of how it will be run, no matter the location, it will not be around too long.

Anonymous said...

You have got to be shitting me.

They really ran an extension chord across the street and put a smoker in a public park??????

Any one who is that stupid deserves to be out of business.

Anonymous said...

Too bad they weren’t illegals. They could’ve broken any law they wanted and gotten the mayor’s support for doing it.

Anonymous said...

They put a smoker in Smith Park?! And the Facebook group that pushes Jackson restaurants blamed the neighbor restaurants.

Anonymous said...

Par for course

Anonymous said...

Sounds like racism to me, a soul food restaurant must have attracted a crowd the landlord didn't like.

Anonymous said...

What was their plan going to be if it rained? I would love to see smoker under the small bit of shelter at the park with ALL the bums. That would go well. How stupid can you get. The place deserves to fail.

Anonymous said...

They are just trying to feed the children! Won't someone think of the children? They were just violating city ordnances. That's no reason to shut them down!

Anonymous said...

Nobody smokes in Smith Park - Said nobody ever.

Anonymous said...

Tim Norman, who used to star in the OWN reality show “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s,” apparently is being sued by his landlord for a substantial amount of back rent and other unpaid fees.

According to reports by gossip sheet The Blast, Kensinger Properties says Norman owes them $254,019.76 plus interest for a place he leased in Houston where the restaurant Sweet Times by Sweetie Pies once stood. According to Kensinger Properties, the former TV star reneged on their agreement and never paid them the owed amount.

Anonymous said...

This isn’t Nam, there are rules!

Anonymous said...

Just take it to the corner of Hwy 80 and Terry road if they want to pull crap off like that. Smoker on the sidewalk or street! REALLY?!!!!

Anonymous said...

There could have been the assumption that the existing electrical system would have be sufficient.
I have a friend who bought an old house and found to their dismay that the relatively recent electrical remodel ( less than a decade ago) would not accommodate the latest appliances. A new " box" with separate wiring had to be added.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same bunch that has all sorts of civil and criminal legal problems in Houston? If so, this seems like small potatoes but they would be a perfect bunch to add luster to Mayor Choppedbeef's reputation for being able to pick great people with which to surround himself.

Anonymous said...

Mayor baby chokwe... How are planning to help other businesses in Jackson that have pleaded and begged for help with flooding issues and bridge closures as well as road issues? Don't be a loon. Help the ones in actual need.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

7:12, The Blast and Atlanta Black Star are really some fine sources for journalism.

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand why we keep reading comments about the mayor. What has the mayor got to do with this?

Kingfish said...

I know. I checked around online and there are several articles about it. They are based on a lawsuit filed in court so they are probably legit.

As for the Mayor, I love it. For years everyone bitched about Harvey refusing to help businesses. So this one runs into trouble and the Mayor says he will help it find a site. Just as the Mayors of Madison, Ridgeland, Clinton, Pearl, etc do all the time yet you bitch about that too.

Cynical Sam said...

The good news is that 150' extension cords are selling like BBQ, err, hotcakes.

Anonymous said...

916, not an electrical engineer here, but if the electrical system was the problem (if it wasn't sufficient as you suggest) then an extension cord feeding the smoker wouldnt work either. That extension cord has to be connected to the electrical system in order to feed the smoker.

Whoever thought that 1) running an extension cord across two streets was an acceptable solution was pretty damn dumb, and

2) then thought that placing a commercial business operation in a public park was acceptable proves their ignorance.

For the MBJ to write the article suggesting that it was the 'throng of patrons' that led to this shutdown shows how far down this publication had gone since it's purchase by the NEDJ.

Anonymous said...

Why did they go out to Smith Park? They could have put it next to those stupid "pocket parks" the City installed that took up 3 parking spaces in front of the building, along with half the street, that don't drain. Could have declared it an outdoor grill area.

Non-famous white restaurant owner said...

Mr Mayor,

Can you help me find a new location for my restaurant too?

Thanks (for nothing)!

5 bone plate said...

By any means necessary (other than putting the smoker in a public park connected by an extension cord running across a public street to a private business)

Note to "Sweetie Pies": Probably should have waited out the general election and IF Jim Hood became Governor, you could have put the smoker within the confines of the Governor's Mansion and more appropriately named your business "BBQ in da Hood"!

Anonymous said...

I think I read online where someone said it was an overtly racist act by the governor. They a black soul food restaurant was shut down because it was too close to the white republican governor’s mansion.

Color me crazy!

Anonymous said...

They better hire a guard to watch that thing or it'll be gone before the sun sets.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Flapsalot

Please be cautious of helping people being sued by their mother. Please edumacate yourself.

Anonymous said...

This restaurant would be a wonderful addition to the Farirsh Street (Sp?) revival project. Just pick the closest empty building to capital street and put it there. When the Mayflower is full, folks can go down to Sweet Pea's for ribs.

Anonymous said...

The media... wlbt and the clarion liar... are horrified they would close a business like this for a minor code violation. Well, I have news for them... any city in this country would have shut this place down. The problem is people don't read first they accuse.

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