Whistle Stop Cafe: A Secret Film Set & Awesome Fried Green Tomatoes

The Whistle Stop Café may have been created for the Fried Green Tomatoes movie, but this restaurant, about 10 miles down a country road off I-75 in Juliette, Ga., is worth the trip, even if you aren’t familiar with the Fried Green Tomatoes book or feature film.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Juliette, Ga.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, Juliette, Ga.

We arrived in Juliette, Georgia a bit early. The Whistle Stop Café doesn’t open until 11 am, so we walked up and down McCracken Street, watching the train creak to life, and peeking into gifts shops that may or may not open later. Things move at a country pace in Juliette.

Of course we ordered fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. You pretty much have to, but even if you didn’t, you’d want to, they are truly that good. The restaurant, which is only open for lunch from 11 – 4 pm, goes through more than 400 green tomatoes in a week. During the Fried Green Tomatoes festival, which is the last weekend in October, that number jumps to about 650! That is pretty incredible considering the Whistle Stop restaurant is 10 miles from the highway, and the only way to find it is to be looking. But the legend, and the movie still bring tourists to town. By the time we finished lunch the Cafe was hopping.

In addition to the fried green tomatoes, you can’t go wrong with pretty much any of the other Whistle Stop menu items. Owner Liz Bryant sources as much as possible locally. The popular fried green tomato bacon cheeseburger uses fresh ground beef and the pork BBQ sandwich is made with pork smoked out back.

The Real Whistle Stop Café

The Fried Green Tomatoes movie starred Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker and Mary Stuart Masterson. It was based on a book by Fannie Flagg about a friendship between two women at the turn of the century in Irondale, AL, a small town outside of Birmingham. In the book, the Whistle Stop Café was modeled after the Irondale Cafe in Irondale.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Juliette, Ga.
The Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, Ga. is open from lunch from 11 – 4 pm.

Where Was Fried Green Tomatoes Filmed?

For some reason, the movie producers chose to film the movie Fried Green Tomatoes in, Juliette, Ga. rather than Irondale, AL. When scouts found Juliette, the now famous Whistle Stop Café was covered in kudzu. They shot scenes for the end of the movie, then removed the kudzu and renovated the building into the Whistle Stop Cafe. After filming, the owners made the wise decision to open up a real Whistle Stop Cafe.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Juliette, Ga.
I love that the courthouse isn’t quite as wide as the police car.

The Town of Juliette, Ga.

Like Irondale, Juliette is located on a railroad track. Irondale was a mining town, but Juliette industry was a cotton and then gristmill. The building that housed the gristmill is across the railroad tracks and for sale if you are interested.

Industry left the area in the 50s. It wasn’t until 1991 when Hollywood came to town and filmed the Fried Green Tomatoes movie that Juliette was brought back to life.

As you walk down McCracken Street, you’ll see the Train Depot. It was moved back into town for the movie. The Bank across the street was constructed as a false front on a vacant lot for the Fried Green Tomatoes movie. After the film wrapped, an actual building was constructed behind it. Look closely at the bricks. They are actually a painted material nailed on to the wooden building. On the side, you can see a few strips of brick that are peeling off.

My favorite building in Juliette is the court house. A small white building a little shy of the width of the police cruiser that sits out front. The Opry House opens for special occasions, like the Fried Green Tomato Festival.

Other Movies Filmed near Juliette, Ga.

The Fried Green Tomatoes movie is the most well known production to film in Juliette, but Hollywood has used this area for other films as well. Jane Mansfield’s Car, Anchorman 2, The Secret Passion of Robert Clayton, Cockfighter, A Killing Affair, The War and Baby Driver were all filmed in the area as well.

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Whistle Stop Cafe Juliette, Ga.

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