Most locals know about Mystic Pizza and it’s claim to fame – the Julia Roberts rom-com of the same name, Mystic Pizza. But there are a few fun, lesser-known facts that you might not know.

First off, let’s do a little recap of the movie’s plot:

The 1988 film charts the lives and loves of three unforgettable waitresses in a little town called Mystic. For Daisy Araujo (Julia Roberts), her sensible sister Kat (Annabeth Gish), and their wisecracking friend Jojo (Lili Taylor), the summer after high school is a summer they’ll never forget. Slinging pizza at a local restaurant, the three girls share their hopes, dreams, and plans for escaping their small town.

And now, let’s get into the fun facts!

  1. The actual Mystic Pizza restaurant was too small for filming and also could not afford to close for the months-long project. Because of this, an entirely new restaurant has to be constructed for filming. The set was built inside an old home turned warehouse and office (the Garbo building) on Water Street in Stonington Borough that was converted to look like a pizza parlor.
  2. Following the release of the movie, the Mystic Pizza restaurant was renovated to look like the set from the film to help capitalize on its newfound fame.
  3. Matt Damon made his on-screen debut during Mystic Pizza as Steamer.
  4. Mystic Pizza wasn’t that popular when it first came out. Julia Roberts was mostly unknown at the time and it wasn’t until two years later when Pretty Woman came out that fans began circling back to see some of her earlier work. And just like that, a tiny Connecticut village with a population of about 4,000 people was on the map. It has since become a cult classic and turned a small pizza parlor in Mystic, Connecticut into a global tourist attraction.
  5. Many of the filming locations in the movie are in Stonington Borough including the restaurant used for the wedding reception, the Windsor’s family home, the fishing docks, and the pool hall, for which filmmakers used the Portuguese Holy Ghost Society’s building. In addition, a few scenes were set/shot in Pawcatuck like the Araújo’s family home. Also, the lobster business was set in Noank, the church at the beginning of the film was Saints Peter & Paul Parish in New London, and the country club was in Watch Hill, Rhode Island. If you want to spot a few other Mystic spots in the movie, you’ll see the Treworgy Planetarium and the Mystic River Bascule Bridge.
  6. Plenty of locals from Mystic also got involved in the filming, as 700 extras participated in scenes, and residents helped construct sets throughout the area and even taught actors how to string bait for lobster traps.