This was probably the most fun we’ve had doing movie filming locations. I (Jennifer) grew up in Connecticut, in the west-central part of the state, but southeast Connecticut (especially Mystic) and the Rhode Island shoreline, have always been a special place to visit. I’d been going there ever since I was a teenager, and took my daughter when she was a little girl. I’m looking forward to taking my grandson some day! We’d had Mystic Pizza many times, and at the time when it was a tiny pizza parlor as it was in “Mystic Pizza.” After the movie came out, but prior to the restaurant’s expansion and renovation, I was there and couldn’t help but comment to our waitress that she really resembled Lili Taylor (or vice versa), who played Jojo Barboza in the movie. She said that they hired Ms. Taylor specifically due to their resemblance. I’m not sure if that’s true, but that’s her story and it’s very cool in my opinion!!
Pat and I only started this movie filming locations hobby fairly recently, but I did take a photo of one place I managed to hunt down in Paris, France from a movie called “A Little Romance,” back in 1996. However, despite having lived my first 33 years in Connecticut, I never did take photos of any of the locations in Mystic Pizza, filmed in late 1987. Before digital cameras, before the Internet of today…but now, anticipating a vacation back to Connecticut to visit my family with my new baby grandson, Pat and I decided to photograph filming locations for one of my favorite films, Mystic Pizza.
Some of the places were easy and obvious to anyone who has even briefly been to Mystic – and I knew them without thinking. The iconic Mystic River Bascule Bridge and Main Street are featured in the film, but since the entire movie was filmed on location in the area, we wanted to try to find every location possible. There are a few docks and some close shots we didn’t look for, but for the most part, we managed to find every major location. Pat’s most awesome work was finding all of these locations using Google Street View and satellite images.
We present these locations as we always do, with a screenshot from the film, a brief explanation of the scene, and then our photograph of the actual location with a description. We didn’t put these in sequential order from the movie, but rather grouped them according to location. That way, several scenes filmed in the same town are together.
Jennifer and Pat
78 Front Street
In the opening scene of the film, Mystic Pizza waitress Jojo Barboza (Lili Taylor) is getting married to a local fisherman named Bill (Vincent D’Onofrio). Jojo suffers from an anxiety attack due to a fear of commitment and passes out at the altar. The exterior of the church (depicted as St. Mary’s in the film) shown below, is located at 78 Front Street in Groton. It used to be St. Joseph’s Church, but it appears to be a private residence now. The interior church scenes were filmed at St. Peter and Paul’s Church, at 730 State Pier Road, New London (not shown).
The building now appears to be a residence.
70 Water Street
The location for the real restaurant Mystic Pizza is in the village of Mystic, Connecticut at 56 West Main Street. At the time of the filming, the restaurant appeared very similar to its depiction in the film. Today, the actual restaurant has expanded into the adjoining space, and was heavily renovated and updated. They have lots of photographs, movie posters, and televisions playing the movie over and over.
In order to film the movie, it was not possible to shut down the actual restaurant for such a long period of time. Space was rented in a building in nearby Stonington, Connecticut at 70 Water Street and a set was built to simulate (though not replicate) the actual restaurant’s interior at the time. Many, many thanks to the kindness of the current tenants, the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club (SHYC) Sailing Foundation, who let us take a few photos inside (below) and gave us some information about the building. It was never actually a restaurant, it was a set used for the interior restaurant scenes. In the movie, the front entrance to the building was facing directly to the street, but the building was renovated and the entrance was put on the corner of the building. This was done to prevent any damage to the building from trucks exiting from the rear of the building (the driveway is very narrow and the building close to the edge of the drive).
In the scene below, Jojo apologizes to Bill for passing out at the wedding and for her jitters, but is still not ready to make a commitment to get married.
In this scene, Kat Arujo (Annabeth Gish) leaves the restaurant to deliver pizza to her mother and then on to an interview for a babysitting job. We were told that during a screening of the film, local residents gasped as Kat turned left here, as it’s a one way street to the right. Notice here the front door faces the street.
Today, the entrance has been angled to prevent building damage from trucks exiting the driveway.
Jojo enters the back of Mystic Pizza.
This location is actually behind the fictional Mystic Pizza location of 70 Water Street in Stonington; however, the building that Jojo enters is different today. Without getting into too much cumbersome detail, the building with the stairs that she enters (to the left) is different now, or has been drastically altered from the film. In addition, it is a separate building from the Water Street building which served as the restaurant. However, as can be seen below, regardless of the building that Jojo enters, we were in the right spot where this scene was filmed.
After Bill breaks up with her, Jojo is back at Mystic Pizza explaining to everyone that she broke up with him.
Again, big thanks to the kind folks at SHYC for letting us in and indulging in our geeky hobby a bit. Despite the renovations to the building interior, it was obvious this was the location of the restaurant set. In the movie, buildings across the street are visible, and some details inside were evident, like the windows here.
At the end of the movie, Tim (William R. Moses) brings Phoebe to say goodbye to Kat. They are coming up the stairway to the pizzeria.
This is the remodeled entryway (angled):
A brief scene across the street from the fictional Mystic Pizza on Water Street.
According to the website, Stonington-Mystic Patch, “Cannon Square located on Water Street in Stonington Borough is a memorial to “the defenders of the fort.” In 1814 the residents of Stonington Borough fought and defeated the British Royal Navy in the Battle of Stonington. The small square honors that victory and includes two cannons from 1814 that the town used to defeat the British.”
This scene is just seconds after the one above where Kat is driving to her mom’s work to deliver pizza. In reality, this location is in the opposite direction as Kat turned from the pizza parlor, but that is the fun of movie magic! She passes by Cannon Square in Stonington in the following two shots.
This location is the home of the wealthy Windsor family, whose son Charlie (Adam Storke) falls for poor waitress Daisy Arujo (Julia Roberts).
Zack’s Bar & Grill, 201 North Main Street
Two scenes depict the characters hanging out at the Peg Leg Pub. After a couple of ownership changes and renovations, the location is Zack’s Bar & Grill as of April 2011.
We would have liked to try it, but they were closed Mondays.
North Main Street (just south of CT State Road 234)
During Daisy and Charlie’s first date, Charlie’s Porsche gets a flat tire. When Daisy suggests Charlie “get out the spare,” he laughs and explains, “that was the spare.”
Many of the trees along this stretch of road were cut down, but a few of the more distinctive ones remain as of April 2011, like the one below, which can be seen behind Daisy in the screen capture above (in the distance).
Without a spare (and no cell phones back in the old days!), they decide to hitchhike a ride. First Daisy…
The big stone in the wall next to the post was easy to locate, where there was a break in the wall.
Charlie and Daisy catch a ride!
The tree branches are another giveaway on this location (all within the same couple hundred of feet).
Ford’s Lobsters – 15 Riverview Avenue
Noank is a village located within Groton, Connecticut. The images from the scene below depict the fictional Ferriera Lobster, where Daisy and Kat’s mother works.
Watch Hill – Westerly, Rhode Island
Kat then heads over to an interview for a babysitting job for architect Tim Travers’ (William R. Moses) 4 year old daughter Phoebe (Porscha Radcliffe). Tim’s house is located on Breen Road in the village of Watch Hill in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Tim’s purpose for being in Mystic is the renovation of a client’s home, actually located at 4 Water’s Edge Road.
This is the back side of the renovation house.
The view from the film above would have only been possible by trespassing on private property, and not being criminals, we instead took this very bad photo through the trees from the road. But it’s “good enough” to see the details of the house above and verify it is the correct location.
The Misquamicut Club, 60 Ocean View Highway
After Charlie tells Daisy he is busy visiting his grandmother in Greenwich, Daisy, Kat and Jojo hang out together and decide to sneak over to the country club. This location is The Misquamicut Club, in Watch Hill, Westerly, Rhode Island.
Charlie leaves the country club with his sister Serena (Lauren O’Brien) to find Daisy (mistaking Serena for a date), dumping two barrels of fish into Charlie’s Porsche.
Despite what you have heard, the actual Mystic Pizza location IS seen in the film, albeit very tiny, very far away! Look to the lower left corner of the rear view mirror. That little tiny red spot is a Coca-Cola sign for the restaurant. 😉 Here is a photo of the real Mystic Pizza before the remodeling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/comtrag/53397019/ (thanks to Flickr user comtrag).
Our photo is taken a bit closer than the screenshot, and a bit blurry, but close enough…
The next scene features a hilarious confrontation between Jojo and Bill, and was filmed on Main Street in Mystic by the Mystic River Bascule Bridge. First, the three main characters are shown rounding the corner at Cottrell and Main Streets. The building at this corner was Noyes Dry Goods at the time, but later became (and still is) a great toy store called Mystical Toys that I used to take my daughter to when she was little.
The girls head west on Main Street toward the bridge.
Bill in his fishing boat, renamed as a joke toward Jojo, cruising north up the Mystic River toward the drawbridge. Taken from the south side of Main Street, east side of the bridge. As a side note, here’s some meaningless info, based upon this location: hopefully Bill is done fishing for the day and heading home, because he is heading away from open waters and north on the Mystic River.
Jojo addresses the crowd that gathered after her tirade against Bill for his joke. Taken along the north side of Main Street, east side of the bridge.
The Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shoppe is visible in the background (which I highly recommend, by the way).
The crowd cheering for Jojo. Taken along the north side of Main Street, east side of the bridge.
185 and 187 Mechanic Street / Pawcatuck River
This area served as the location for the Arujo and Barboza homes. Kat & Daisy lived with their mom (Joanna Merlin) at 187 Mechanic Street, and Jojo lived with her parents next door at 185 Mechanic Street.
Daisy and Charlie leave 187 Mechanic Street, with the fence and Pawcatuck River visible in the background.
Jojo’s house at 185 Mechanic Street.
The following two scenes basically show the same location, the first at the Arujo house, the second at the Barboza house.
Daisy arriving home from work to find Charlie waiting at her home.
Jojo going to talk to Bill about their issues.
Looking down Mechanic Street.
Jojo crosses Mechanic Street to head toward the Pawcatuck River.