No, Julia Roberts doesn’t work there anymore. But 25 years after the then-budding actress served up her breakthrough performance as a sassy waitress in the 1988 chick flick MYSTIC PIZZA, the real-life pizza parlor in Mystic, Conn. (located an hour from Hartford), remains a major tourist spot that packs in patrons eager to try “A Slice of Heaven,” just as Julia once did.
According to owner John Zelepos, whose parents opened the parlor in 1973, the first summer season following the movie’s release, “We had lines out the door. People still come from literally all over the world to get a glimpse into the Mystic Pizza movie mania.”
The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism helps keep the mysticism alive with its Mystic Pizza Movie Trail, a map highlighting regional attractions featured in the film. It turns out only the exterior of the real Mystic Pizza actually appeared in the movie; all interior scenes were shot in an empty store in the nearby Borough of Stonington.
Few visitors know or care. They still come to the eatery to relive their favorite moments from the movie and to enjoy a slice of pie. “The one thing they always want to know, after they ask about the most popular pizza, is, ‘Where’s Julia Roberts?’ ” Zelepos says. Turns out they can find her at the restaurant’s well-stocked souvenir stand, which sells “A Slice of Heaven” T-shirts, aprons and, of course, DVDs of the movie that started it all. www.mysticpizza.com