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, Georgia, is worth the trip — even if you aren’t familiar with the book or feature film.
Also known as the Fried Green Tomatoes restaurant, this is one of Georgia’s small-town gems, and it’s a must-visit for movie buffs and fried green tomato lovers across the United States.
FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
When we arrived in Juliette, Georgia to visit and eat at The Whistle Stop Cafe, also known as the Fried Green Tomatoes Restaurant, we got there before the restaurant opened. Arriving early gave us time to walk up and down McCracken Street, watching the train creak to life, and peeking into the windows of the gift shops — that may or may not open later. Things move at a country place in Juliette.
The Whistle Stop Cafe is open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. They are closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, so plan accordingly.
Once we entered The Whistle Stop Cafe we — of course — ordered the fried green tomatoes! You pretty much have to, but even if you didn’t, you’d want to. They are amazing and delicious, and definitely worth the trip.
They go through more than 400 green tomatoes in a week here. During the Fried Green Tomatoes Festival, which is held the last Sunday in October, that number jumps to about 650! That’s a lot of tomatoes! That number is even more incredible, when you think about how the restaurant is located 10 miles from the highway, so the only way to find it is to be looking for it. The legend, and the movie, still bring tourists to town. By the time we finished our lunch here, 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. 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 CAFE
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.
WHERE WAS FRIED GREEN TOMATOES FILMED?
The movie producers chose to film the movie Fried Green Tomatoes in Juliette.
The building that now houses the Whistle Stop Cafe was built in 1927 by a man who ran a general store in town for 45 years, before closing it in 1972. Before being chosen as a film site, it was rented out and used as a real estate office and antique store for awhile.
When location scouts found Juliette, the now-famous Whistle Stop Café was covered in kudzu. They shot scenes for the end of the movie first, then removed the kudzu and renovated the building into the Whistle Stop Cafe.
After filming, the owners of the building made the wise decision to open up a real Whistle Stop Cafe — and the rest is history!
THE TOWN OF JULIETTE, GA
Like Irondale, Juliette is located on a railroad track. Irondale was a mining town, but Juliette’s popular industry was cotton, and then a gristmill.
Industry left the area in the 1950s, and the small town became smaller. In 1991, Fried Green Tomatoes was released, and it brought the town of Juliette back to life.
As you walk down McCracken Street, you’ll see the Train Depot, which 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 movie. After filming wrapped, an actual building was constructed behind it. You’ve got to look closely at the bricks — they are actually a painted material nailed on to the wooden building!
In the movie, a character loses an arm in a train accident. When walking down McCracken Street, make sure to keep an eye out for the gravesite for “Buddy’s Arm.” You’ll also find “graves” for Buddy Threadgood and Ruth Jamison. Another reads: “Here lies Frank Bennet of Valdosta, ‘The secret was in the sauce.'”
My favorite building in Juliette is the Courthouse. It’s small white building, just a little shy of the width of the police cruiser that sits out front.
OTHER MOVIES FILMED NEAR JULIETTE
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.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR GEORGIA TRIP
- YOUR GEORGIA VACATION
- GEORGIA’S ANTEBELLUM CAPITAL: 21 Undeniable Reasons Your Family Should Visit Blissful Milledgeville, Ga
- GUIDE TO MACON, GA: Your Complete Guide To The Best Things To Do In Macon, Ga
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