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TAKE A STOP AT THE WHISTLE STOP FOR FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
The famous window from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes
Side view of the Whistle Stop Cafe
This is the original warehouse for The General Store
A VISIT TO THE WHISTLE STOP CAFE BRINGS BACK GREAT MEMORIES. Most of you have heard of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes filmed in 1991 in a small town Juliette, GA. My husband and I have talked about going for lunch many times, and this morning we decided to take a little road trip to the Whistle Stop Cafe. We had heard several times the food was excellent but our experience was far beyond the great Southern food they serve.
There really is a Whistle Stop Cafe that does indeed serve fried green tomatoes (among other Southern foods) just north of Macon Georgia. It is in the actual area where many of the scenes were filmed. After the film became a huge success, the Whistle Stop Cafe set was turned into an actual restaurant, and its surrounding area into a tourist attraction. Although they may have filmed in Georgia, the true Whistle Stop Cafe is in Irondale, Alabama (a suburb or Birmingham, where Author Fannie Flagg grew up.) Excerpt form Fried Green Tomatoes Trivia
Among all of the movie props, photos during the filming displayed on the walls, trinkets and so many pieces of paraphernalia we were mesmerized being in the cafe. People were coming in and it was a wonderful mixture of us “outsiders” and local residents. Stevie Vaughn music was playing and somehow it fit perfectly in the setting. Ashley, a terrific young lady, asked us about our preferred drink and as she must do with each customer she inquired with great confidence that she knew the answer, “Do you want the fried green tomatoes?’ Of course we did and off she went with a smile.
While we were sitting at a table with 4 more empty chairs, when Ashley asked would we mind if someone sat with us. We Southerners like to be hospitable and we quickly answered yes. This was the start of a wonderful meal and a great unexpected surprise. For those of you who know me, I don’t miss an opportunity to find out who people are and what they do, etc. It has to be the writer in me but I will ask questions and get the conversation going.
Robert and Mitzi Williams
The man and woman was Robert and Mitzi Williams and of course they were locals. It seemed all of the restaurant folks knew them very well. In general conversation, Robert disclosed who he is. Have you guessed yet? His Father, Ed Williams owned the general store which Hollywood turned into The Whistle Stop Cafe. It wasn’t even equipped to cook but leave it to Hollywood who did quite an expensive remake in Juliette, GA. While we ate, Robert filled me in on the making of the film and how buildings were transformed and of course, I had asked if I could write a post on my blog about The Whistle Stop Cafe and the delicious food with history. I received permission and then I got the real story about how the Cafe became a restaurant after the movie was filmed.
Robert told us that Mable’s Table, a local restaurant actually cooked the food and brought it down to give the appearance of the Cafe as seen in the movie. Robert is in the movie and actually sits while eating at the counter. He amusingly said when the filming crew broke for lunch and came back, he had to look exactly the same for shooting. He gave me the scoop on how buildings were moved and how the celebrities adjusted to the small town atmosphere. It had to have been something quite extraordinary for everyone in the town to be a part or at least see the filming in person. Some of the celebrities wanted some of the props but from looking around, there are still plenty to gaze upon. As we ate, I saw guest after guest taking pictures. Mitzi was one of the nicest ladies I have met in a long time and I felt we had met new friends after only a few minutes.
After the filming was completed, in a short time, Mable’s Table closed down and Robert thought about it and since The Whistle Stop Cafe was already there. He matched the booth the film crew left with several more and hired a lady to cook for the restaurant. When the food/health inspector came, no one was in town and Robert told us the amusing question the inspector asked, “Who are you going to feed?” It was obvious with the crowd that was present; that question was answered.
When I thought it couldn’t get any better, Robert wanted us to walk down the street where the Cafe is located at the corner. He showed me the Opera House which used to be a store owned by his grandfather who was known as Ed Williams too. I saw the different houses used for film scenes, the railroad tracks, the church, the streets, the railroad depot, and too many sights in a tour by Robert and Mitzi who treated us like home folks and it began to sink in. It wasn’t just a movie; it is a lifestyle and one to be slightly envious. We went in the Whistle Stop Cafe Gift Shop and met Joe, an expert craftsman bowl maker. I needed more time and we will have a return visit soon.
To sum up our visit, we had a lovely drive and it is worth every mile tucked away off the well beaten path; it was a great time capsule trip to see this beautifully preserved small Georgia town. The town is huge in hospitality and legacy. It felt as if I had stepped back in time to the making of Fried Green Tomatoes and visited with two people who had such a big part in their town.
The South’s best kept secret is in Juliette, Georgia. The small town of Juliette is where the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” was filmed. The cafe serves up great food and good ol’ fashioned service. With the owner Elizabeth Bryant in the kitchen and out in the cafe you will not be disappointed! They are open seven days a week, except holidays, 11:00 am til 4:00 pm. They welcome large groups and tour groups, so call ahead for reservations. Come and eat some delicious fried green tomatoes and see the Whistle Stop Cafe Menu for other delicious food.
Note from Arline: We were fortunate to meet Elizabeth Bryant (Liz) who is in full control of this great restaurant. She was so busy, but was so receptive for me to write the blog post. I cannot say how highly I recommend a trip to Juliette for a stop to wet your whistle, dine with some great folks, eat yourself silly from all of the goodies, watch for the frequent trains that pass through with coal for the Georgia Power Plant nearby and perchance if you offer to share your table, it might be Robert and Mitzi or any of the great residents who have a great tale to tell you about.
We will return to Juliette GA very soon to check in and see all is great in Juliette. Thanks for the hospitality and the best food around……Until We Read Again, Arline Miller, Blogger and Author.
Here I am getting ready to take pictures in The Whistle Stop Cafe
A blogger since 2012, a published author of three Five Star romance novels, A MISTRESS, A WIFE and TELL ME LIES; LOVE ME STILL and RIDDLE ME THIS, LOVE OR BLISS. Still a small town girl with a lot of experience of people watching. Ten years of blogging experience.
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