Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A slice of heaven

When we mentioned to Ronelle that we might stay in Mystic, Conn., since it's close to the giant Foxwoods Casino, she endorsed the idea, saying it's pretty there on the water. Yeah, and great pizza, I said. She laughed at the play on "Mystic Pizza," the movie, but said she wasn't sure that the film really was about this same Mystic.

Is it ever! The movie and the pizza joint that inspired it have practically taken over the town.

Well, that's an overstatement. It's still a quaint, picturesque little shipbuilding village on Connecticut's south shore, but Mystic Pizza the restaurant is a mini-shrine to "Mystic Pizza" the movie, which is 20 years old now, and in our short stay here we've seen several people out front taking pictures of the joint.

Cute story about the film's genesis. Amy Jones, an aspiring screenwriter, was summering here in Mystic in the mid-1980s and used to eat at the little pizza place. Back in LA, inspired by the lilt of the restaurant's name and the mix of tourists and locals, she set her story there and sold the film (take notes, Gina!).

Another story, in Mystic Country magazine, told of how an 18-year-old kid, a local, got the gig of location scout. She went to the Mystic Hilton, where the production crew was staying, and asked the manager where the movie people were. "He said, 'I can't tell you that,'" the woman, Bailey Pryor, told the magazine. "Then I put $5 on the table and he said, 'Room 103.' It was the best five bucks I ever spent." Pryor went on to become a documentary filmmaker herself.

Inside the restaurant, photos from the film shoot and of the stars line the walls ("Mystic Pizza" was Julia Roberts' first movie), and the flick plays nonstop on big TVs around the room. They still do a pretty good business on the "Slice of Heaven" t-shirts that the waitresses still wear.

The shocker -- and I sound exactly like one of the tourists quoted in one of the many newspaper stories framed on the restaurant's walls -- is that the pizza is really good. Like nearly four-glioma good, second on this trip only to the perfection of North Beach Pizza in San Francisco. We're planning on going back for lunch again today.


Ronelle said...

Mmmmmm....that pizza looks like it beats four dogs on the fire anyday!
Just be careful lifting such hefty slices with your wii arms - one can't be too careful.

Michelle -I am glad you got the camera fixed - way to show it who is boss! I am not surprised that you figured it out!

It looks like Mystic was a good call -have fun! We miss you guys -it is too quiet here now.

freda said...

how very cool.

Shannon said...

Hey! I've been there! I mean, I was in Hartford, I *had* to go!