Where was Mystic Pizza filmed?
Groton, CT; Mystic, CT; Stonington, CT; and Westerly, RI (Watch Hill)
Beach/Oceanview, House, Mansions, Religious, Restaurant, Ship Docks
Beach House, Modern Building, Parking Lot, Rustic
About Mystic Pizza
Amy Holden Jones was a screenwriter vacationing in Mystic, Connecticut when she happened upon Mystic Pizza, a restaurant in the heart of the village. She enjoyed the pizza and thought it was the perfect location for a movie. Her creative juices started flowing, and she wrote the script about three waitresses that worked there.
The coming-of-age drama/comedy/romance released in 1988 about the three waitresses working at Mystic Pizza wasn’t the first film for Julia Roberts, a star of the film. But it certainly put her and her co-stars, Annabeth Gish, and Lili Taylor on the map. All three cast members have gone on to illustrious careers in Hollywood.
Daisy (Roberts), Kat (Gish), and Jojo (Taylor) are all young Portuguese American women navigating various stages of love while figuring out who they are and growing up in the process. They have Leona, the chef behind the mystical and delicious pizza who serves as a mother figure and also helps them through the uncertainties and choices they face.
Each of the young women works through their romantic entanglements as the movie progresses and they’re also working at Mystic Pizza. At the same time, they’re trying to help Leona, the chef, and owner, have her pizza featured on the “Fireside Gourmet” television show, as this would be a true sign of the pizza’s significance and excellence. Spoiler Alert: We will cover some of the movie’s iconic scenes in this guide.
Mystic Pizza Locations
The Mystic Pizza filming locations were in the surrounding areas of Mystic, Connecticut. A few scenes were also shot in neighboring Rhode Island. While much of the movie centers around the restaurant, it’s surprising how many other locations play a pivotal role in the movie.
Many of the locations seen in the movie, from Ford’s Lobsters to the “Fireside Gourmet,” and Mystic Pizza itself exist in much the same format that they did in 1988 when the film was released. The backdrop here is a classic New England fishing village and seaside community, one that it has retained, and made it popular with many other films and TV series over the years.
Mystic has that quintessential New England charm, with some of the older buildings dating back to when the village was founded in 1654. It was a prominent shipbuilding location and remains popular with the boating and shipping industries today as well as being a favorite destination for vacations and tourism.
Other films that have used locations in Groton and Mystic include Amistad, the Hunt for Red October, and Sand Dollar Cove, among others. It’s also home to the Mystic Seaport Museum, the largest maritime museum in the United States, and a location that was used by Amistad and others.
The “If he really loved me…” scene in Mystic Pizza
Mystic Pizza Restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut
It’s the beginning of the movie. Jojo fainted during her wedding at the church, and then left her fiancé, Bill, at the altar. She’s standing in the dining room, talking to Daisy and Kat while they wait tables at the Mystic Pizza restaurant, and says, “If he really loved me, he’d wait, but I guess if I really loved him, I’d marry him.” This helps set the stage for her character throughout the movie, and we see her commitment issues.
Many classic Mystic Pizza film scenes throughout the movie take place in the original Mystic Pizza at 56 W. Main Street in Mystic. The restaurant has been renovated in the years since the film was made and a second location was added to keep up with demand, but much of the interior still looks the same today. As a bonus, dining is now available on the second floor to accommodate more guests too.
The movie's end is again shot at Mystic Pizza, with Daisy, Kat, and Jojo toasting Jojo’s wedding on the deck outside the restaurant. One of the last lines of the movie is Jojo saying, “What the hell do you think Leona really puts in that pizza?”
The slinging pizza scene in Mystic Pizza
Mystic Pizza Restaurant in Mystic, Connecticut
Leona, the matronly pizza chef, and owner of Mystic Pizza seem a bit of a long-suffering character throughout the movie. She obviously thinks highly of her three young waitresses and wants to support them, but her frustration with their romantic entanglements and the decisions they make is sometimes obvious too. In one particularly memorable scene, she and Daisy have a conversation, this time in the kitchen of the Mystic Pizza restaurant.
Leona says to Daisy, “Honey, you'd do just fine if you just used your head a little more,” and then Daisy replies, “Yeah, well, don't worry about me. I'm gonna be slingin' pizza for the rest of my life.”
Both Leona and Daisy’s mom are frustrated with her choices. Daisy is just focused on having fun while Kat works at the planetarium at Mystic Seaport as well and has been accepted into astronomy school at Yale. You can get to both of these places by taking the Red 108 bus to the Northeast Regional Bus, driving, or using a ride-share service.
The playing pool scene in Mystic Pizza
Peg Leg Pub (Zach’s Bar & Grill)
Daisy meets her love interest, Charlie, at Peg Leg Pub, which was really a restaurant called Zack’s Bar and Grill at 201 North Main Street but is no longer in business. Peg Leg Pub was a regular hangout for Daisy, Jojo, Kat, and their friends. Charlie and his friends happen to come in one evening, and Charlie is with another woman.
They all end up playing pool together, with Daisy showing them all how it’s done. She easily wins the pool game, and the heart of Charlie, and they begin seeing each other, much to her mother and friends’ dismay.
Restaurants play a central theme throughout the movie. Mystic Pizza and Peg Leg Pub are both locations used multiple times, and the Fireside Gourmet television show featured in the movie is all about restaurants. We see a brief head nod to another restaurant, Ford’s Lobsters, which is a real restaurant too (and the movie uses the name Ferreira Lobsters).
In fact, Ford’s Lobsters was the lobster processing plant where Daisy and Kat’s mom worked in the movie. Ford’s Lobsters looks much the same as it did in 1988 and is where we see Kat riding her scooter to deliver a pizza to her mom. You can get to both of these places by taking the Red 108 bus to the Northeast Regional Bus, driving, or using a ride share service.
Daisy dumps fish water in Charlie’s car scene in Mystic Pizza
Misquamicut Club in Watch Hill Westerly, RI
The Peg Leg Pub is the location for another epic scene too. It’s outside of the Peg Leg Pub where the girls steal Bill’s truck and the barrels of fish water in the back. Daisy has seen Charlie with another woman at the country club (the location was the Misquamicut Club in Watch Hill, part of Westerly, Rhode Island) and is convinced he’s cheating on her. They back up to his convertible in the country club parking lot and she pours the barrel of fish water into it as he and the woman come outside.
He's obviously upset and then introduces the woman as his sister. Charlie then tries to make Daisy feel better about it all, and she says, “You’re weird.” He looks at her quizzically, then at the Porsche convertible filled with fish water and says, “I’m weird?” and then continues, “Can you give us a ride home?” You can get to both of these places by taking the Red 108 bus to the Northeast Regional Bus, driving, or using a ride-share service.
The family dinner scene in Mystic Pizza
Charlie’s Summer Home
Daisy is at Charlie’s family’s summer home having dinner with everyone. A waitress in full uniform serves everyone a lobster, and we see the young Matt Damon, playing Charlie’s younger brother, ask, “Mom, do you want my green stuff?” referring to the tamale. Charlie heads into the kitchen to get a beer. A waitress named Theresa comes in and puts down a platter of food and recognizes Daisy, asking her if she’s still waitressing at “the pizza” before being sent back to the kitchen by Charlie’s parents.
Family dinner goes downhill quickly as Charlie’s dad, Chuck, mentions that he and Mrs. Windsor are “pizza connoisseurs,” and Charlie calls waitressing a noble profession. Charlie and his father enter a passive-aggressive conversation about Charlie’s lack of ambition and career before Theresa returns and scoops food onto the sleeve of Charlie’s uncle, one of the other dinner guests.
We see Matt Damon one more time as he smirks when Charlie comments about how his Aunt Tweedy can’t even train her husband to sleep at home after his aunt makes an insensitive comment about the Portuguese Americans. The scene escalates and ends with Charlie saying, “Okay, so I guess dinner is over,” and pulling the tablecloth so everything crashes into the center. Daisy and Charlie fight outside, and then she tells him, “You’re not even good enough for me,” and gets a ride home with Theresa.
And you will also need a ride to get to Charlie’s summer home because there is no bus route there. However, you could rent a car, take a taxi, or use a ride share service.
The Fireside Gourmet finally reviews Leona’s pizza scene in Mystic Pizza
The Fireside Gourmet Restaurant (Latitude 41° Restaurant)
The secondary plot line in the movie is that Mystic Pizza is struggling financially and needs more restaurant patrons and sales. Leona is convinced that if people just taste her family’s secret recipe, the restaurant will be a success. The four women regularly tune in to the “Fireside Gourmet” weekly television show, with Leona regularly arguing with the show’s host, Hector Freshette. Towards the end of the movie, he finally comes into Mystic Pizza.
Hector orders a pizza and takes a few bites while the women watch from the kitchen. He makes a couple of notes in his notebook, pays his bill, and leaves. Needless to say, no one thinks this is a good sign.
A few days later, they all tune into the Fireside Gourmet television show. Hector is sitting in the elegantly appointed restaurant where he delivers his review. He mentions that the location was “rustic,” the service “over-solicitous,” and that he’s not a fan of pizza. Uh-oh.
But then he continues, “…but this pizza is, how should I say this, in a word, superb.” The ladies all erupt in cheers as they watch the episode, and then the phone starts ringing constantly. The financial troubles of Mystic Pizza are over.
The Fireside Gourmet episodes were filmed in yet another restaurant, what is now called the Latitude 41° Restaurant. Today it’s part of Mystic Seaport and offers diners an excellent meal and exquisite views along the Mystic River. To get here you can take the Yellow 11 bus or the Red 108 bus.
The movie Mystic Pizza made the best use of all that Mystic and the surrounding towns of Groton, and Stonington, along with nearby Westerly, Rhode Island have to offer. The movie is fictional, yet so incredibly authentic because of all the locations used in the set.
The variety of Mystic Pizza filming locations also shows us how welcoming Connecticut was, and good news – still is – of filming projects for movies and television. There were outdoor Mystic Pizza locations used throughout the film for pivotal scenes as well, including Charlie and Daisy driving over the Mystic Bridge and Jojo yelling at Bill from this location too, as it crosses over the Mystic River (Lat, Long 41.35470-71.96875).
Of course, the actual movie set has changed a lot, now that it's offices for the sailing foundation instead. But it so effortlessly captured the actual Mystic Pizza restaurant, and the film’s timeless appeal has kept that place thriving for decades. We all need a slice of heaven in our lives, and sometimes that slice of heaven comes from a good piece of pizza.