I'm so used to that question that when a woman pulled over in her van and yelled to me, "Excuse me," I assumed she wanted directions to Mystic Pizza. Instead, she asked, "Do you realize the back of your skirt is tucked into your underwear?"
Anyway, yes, you can still dine at Mystic Pizza. Excerpt from my travel memoir, Mystic Seafarer's Trail:
Although it’s been more than 20 years since the release of the 1988 romantic comedy, Mystic Pizza, starring Julia Roberts and debuting Matt Damon (whose only line, "Mom, do you want my green stuff?" was said while eating lobster), visitors still flock to the restaurant that inspired it.
The Zelepos family, owners of Mystic Pizza, state, “Incredibly, our little pizza shop caught the eye of screenwriter Amy Jones, who was summering in the area. Ms. Jones chose Mystic Pizza as the focus and setting for her story of the lives and loves of three young waitresses.” The movie depicts life in a small fishing village and was filmed in Mystic and the surrounding communities.
The locals will never forget the day that Hollywood came to town—just ask Mystic shopkeepers and waiters what it was like to accommodate the 80-member film crew. Most have a story to tell—how the bridge operator needed to raise the drawbridge on cue; how local fishermen advised actors on stringing bait; or how they have a friend whose family moved into a hotel while a scene was shot in their home. Local racing sailor Katie Bradford said, “I’m friends with Skip, the guy who was actually steering the boat in the Mystic River scene. He had to do it lying on his back so an actor would appear as though he was steering.” Katie also tells how another friend became a local celebrity—simply because the back of his head made it into the movie!
For those who have never seen the film, they can have their chance by peering into the restaurant where it plays continuously on three screens. “It’s on mute—otherwise, we’d go nuts!” confided one waitress.
The restaurant sells souvenirs (as well as pizza) and proudly displays movie photos, posters and newspaper clippings featuring the restaurant. The waitresses even have a little fun by dressing up a mannequin as Daisy, the Julia Roberts character in the film. They change her hair accessories to match the colors of the season.
More than 20 years after the movie’s release, film production companies still can’t get enough of Mystic Pizza. Restaurant co-owner John Zelepos recently received a call from California asking if his restaurant and family would star in a reality TV show.