Fried Green Tomatoes is a beloved southern film from 1991 inspired by the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. The film stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson (Idgie Threadgoode), Chris O'Donnell, and Mary-Louise Parker (Ruth Jamison) and follows two sets of female friendships and the hardships they endure together. Tandy landed an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and the script was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. It's a classic film everyone should watch.
Producer Lisa Lindstrom introduced the novel to the film's director, Jon Avnet back in 1987. It was not an easy road for Hollywood to get the film on the big screen. Avnet received a very small budget to develop the script and had his first two screenwriters leave the project including Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobieski, who wrote Annie. He ended up finishing the script himself since he had no budget left to complete the project. After a few years of developing the script, Flagg gave her seal of approval and they cast the film.
Tandy was the first choice to play nursing home patient Ninny Threadgoode as was Parker for the role of Ruth Jamison. The rest of the cast fell into place perfectly. Though Flagg had initially based Whistle Stop in her novel on Irondale, Alabama, production designer Barbara Ling found Juliette, Georgia to be the ideal filming location. The town, around an hour outside of Atlanta, seemed nearly deserted but there was an old antique and hardware store that made the perfect Whistle Stop Café.
Following the release of the film, the town opened up a real Whistle Stop Café set up just like the movie set. Local resident Robert Williams had inherited the building and partnered with his friend Jerie Lynn Williams to open up Original Whistle Stop Cafe. The cozy little spot is now an American treasure, letting folks relive one of the most beloved southern stories.
The building was first built in 1927 by Edward L. Williams, Sr. who ran the space as a general merchandise store for 40 years. After that, it was rented out until Hollywood came to town.
If you're ever near the small town of Juliette, Ga., be sure to bring your credit cards and visit the Whistle Stop for some southern eats and sweet tea for lunch or brunch. The menu includes fried chicken, catfish, veggie plates, okra, pulled pork, pecan cobbler, and of course -- fried green tomatoes.
The town is small so you can see a bunch of filming locations on your visit:
The Whistle Stop Cafe
The Juliette Mill
You can also visit McCollum Grocery and more adorable stops around Juliette!
This article was originally published in September of 2019.
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