Juliette's movie history doesn't stop with Fried Green Tomatoes
JULIETTE, Ga. -- One of things that Juliette is best known for is the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, which was filmed in the town in 1991.
The movie stars Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary Louise Parker and Jessica Tandy.
It's about a surprising friendship between two women, one of which who lives in a nursing home and shares stories of her past including loved ones and the restaurant they ran together - Juliette's own Whistle Stop Cafe.
When the movie debuted, it grossed almost $120 million worldwide and even scored two Oscar nominations. On top of all that, locals said it brought Juliette back to life. Elizabeth Bryant has owned the face 17 years now and said business is booming.
"Saturday, it's a flood of people in here. We typically, during the week, we're steady. We're not blasted. But come Saturday and Sunday, it's an influx of people coming down from Atlanta, from Houston County, all over the place. We have regulars that have been coming here, their children were small when they started and now they've graduated and gone onto college. You know it's not anything surprising for us to have an hour and a half wait come 1:00 p.m. and we take those names until 4:00 p.m. and after that, we do what we can to get you out of here. But there is a lot of people on the weekend," said Bryant.
Customers have traveled from as far as Australia, Italy, Germany and Japan, but Bryant said she doesn't feel pressured in her position.
"Not many people can do what they love and be rewarded. I've met a numerous amount of people, I've formed relationships that I would not have otherwise. It has been a true gift to me, my family and to everyone that works here," Bryant said."It's just a beautiful place. The interior of the cafe is what you'd expect from your great grandmother's house when you walk in. It's just pure and simple, nothing fancy, and that's what we are. We're nothing fancy. We're southern people trying to make a living and offer hospitality at the same time."
Fourth generation Juliette native Frankie Williams said he remembers the filming like it was yesterday.
"They did scenes where they covered our streets with mud and you couldn't even tell we had pavement. I even met a man in Louisiana on vacation and he saw the movie and he said 'Those people don't even have streets!' But that was it mainly. But mainly a lot of people came like celebrities, Cicely Tyson and the different ones but it just kind of brought the whole town back to life," said Williams.
Williams said us he often wonders what his father and grandfather would think about a Hollywood movie filming in their town and turning their grocery store into a tourist attraction and successful restaurant. He said he's proud to be a Juliette native and wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
Fried Green Tomatoes isn't the only movie that's been filmed in Juliette. A Killing Affair was also filmed in the town in 1986 and stars Peter Weller and Kathy Baker.
Before that it was Cockfighter filmed in 1974 with Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton.
About 20 years later later, The War was filmed there in 1994 with Kevin Costner.
Then just within the last decade the documentary Fried Green Tomorrows: Juliette, Georgia Lives brought film crews back to town.
On October 27 and 28 Juliette will host the Fried Green Tomato Festival.
McCrackin St. will be closed so shoppers can walk around and there will be artists visiting to sell their work. Locally-owned shops will be opened to shoppers all day - and of course the Whistle Stop Cafe will be open for business.
The free festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the last weekend of October.