It's been more than three decades since the movie Mystic Pizza put a little pizza parlor in southeastern Connecticut on the map. Visitors to Mystic, CT, still flock to Mystic Pizza, though, to catch a glimpse of movie memorabilia, to savor "a slice of heaven" and to wish fervently that their waitress will look just like Julia Roberts.
Mystic Pizza has been a fixture in the heart of this seaside town since 1973 when it was opened by the Zelepos family, and while the pizza alone was sufficient lure for many years, the pizzeria's fate took an amazing turn when it caught the eye of screenwriter Amy Jones, who spent a summer in the Mystic area. Jones chose Mystic Pizza as the setting for her story of three waitresses' romantic pursuits in the summer after their high school graduation. Roberts played the part of big-haired Daisy Arujo, and she showed her knack for wooing rich guys even before her blockbuster hit, Pretty Woman.
Mystic Pizza served as the inspiration for the movie "set," which was actually created in a North Stonington, Connecticut, warehouse. The restaurant itself was too small for filming and also could not afford to close for the months-long project.
The film's 1988 release caused quite a stir in Mystic, as fans lined up outside the pizzeria to taste its signature pies and to purchase souvenirs, including their own "A Slice of Heaven" T-shirts identical to the one worn by Julia Roberts in the movie. Since 1988, Mystic Pizza has expanded its Mystic location at 56 West Main Street and has also opened a second Mystic Pizza II location in North Stonington at the rotary where Routes 2 and 184 converge (211 Providence New London Turnpike).
While the lines and the "mania" have mostly subsided, Mystic Pizza is still a popular hang-out, particularly for out-of-towners. You won't be the only one snapping photos of the "Slice of Heaven" sign if you stop by today—more than 30 years after the movie's release. Julia Roberts' remarkable career since this early film has helped to propel the pizzeria's popularity. The pizza is excellent, too. Don't miss the Seafood Delight topped with shrimp, clams, scallops, mozzarella, garlic and red sauce. The House Special pizza is loaded up with three meats and three veggies: pepperoni, meatball sausage, green peppers, onions and mushrooms.
For hours and other information, call Mystic Pizza at 860-536-3700. Contact the North Stonington location at 860-599-3111. If you can't get to southeastern Connecticut, visit the Mystic Pizza website for information on finding the Mystic Pizza line of frozen pizzas in your local grocery store or ordering for delivery nationwide. Heaven may be only a short drive or click away!
Mystic Pizza - DVD (Buy direct on Amazon)
The 1988 classic chick flick starring Julia Roberts and Annabeth Gish remains one of the most popular movies ever set and filmed in Connecticut.The wide-screen DVD version of Mystic Pizza includes the original theatrical trailer.
More Movies Filmed in the Mystic, Connecticut, Area: Hope Springs; Amistad; The Hunt for Red October; Yours, Mine & Ours.
Visit These Other Famous Connecticut Pizzerias
- Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana was established in 1925 in New Haven, CT, and the Original Tomato Pie is still on the menu and still cooked crisp in the same brick ovens. Did Frank Pepe create the first apizza (pronounced: "ah-beets") in America? It's debatable, and New Haveners love to argue over whether it's even the city's best (Sally's Apizza and Modern Apizza are contenders, too). But one thing's fact: Frank Pepe's descendants have done a remarkable job of sustaining and expanding the Pepe's brand to 10 locations in Connecticut and beyond.
- BAR in New Haven is a 21-and-up hangout with its own claim to pizza fame. The mashed potato pizzas that emerge from the brick oven are a carb-load to remember.
- Roseland Apizza in Derby, CT, is home to the state's most decadent (and expensive) pie: the seafood-loaded lobster, shrimp and scallop Ponsinella.
- Swyft in Kent, CT, is a destination for gourmands who want to taste sourdough-crust pizzas created by one of Connecticut's best chefs: Joel Viehland.