|From Whistle Stop Cafe|
I have said that I was going to talk a little about food (among other things) on this site. But the food has to be a little more than just a cute little restaurant down the road, of which we in Atlanta have plenty. A short while back I was asked a question about my East Juliette Dam post, which I couldn’t answer until I rewatched (at least the first 15 minutes) of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes. During which I remembered that I intended to post about the restaurant about an hour and a half from Atlanta, where the film was made, but never got around to it. Until now, so I bring you the Whistle Stop Cafe in Juliette, Georgia.
Now the film Fried Green Tomatoes seems to be one of those Southern Chick Films (using the film term with absolutely no additional connotation), which I’ve never met a Southern Girl who doesn’t love. So if you decide to go here, you get a two for one as a guy, you make her day a special outing and you get to eat some good fried country cooking without any real questions about your eating choices. A free pass to Fried Chicken, as it were. She’ll love the story and you’ll like the food.
It’s not the restaurant that inspired the book. No, that place is a little café in Irondale, Alabama just this side of Birmingham, Alabama called the Irondale Cafe (I’ve stopped there too and its pretty good). This is the place they chose to shoot the film. You see prior to Fried Green Tomatoes, Juliette was a bit of a ghost town, with packed up and shuttered buildings which made for a good cheap place for a Hollywood set. But when they left, they left some of the film stuff intact, including the café, which some industrious locals decided to reopen in tribute to the restaurant that played such an important part in the film. The building itself was built in 1927 and was primarily used as a general store, but its new function is much more visit friendly.
We ate a big pile of Southern Fried Goodness. We had to order the Fried Green Tomatoes, and I doubt you could make the trek without doing the same. I had a plate full of Fried Chicken Livers, while the missus had a mighty fine country fried steak (I was looking at the menu and I don’t think they sell livers no more). We got them with a bunch of sides, sweet potato soufflé, mac and cheese, and fried okra (though the sides rotate). We also split some peach cobbler, which rounded out a nice traditional Georgia meal. And the setting takes one back to a much less hectic time.
The city itself has undergone a mild rejuvenation because of the Whistle Stop and the Fried Green Tomatoes movie. We stopped for a spell at a kind of opry house with some folks fiddling and strumming on the porch. They run the occasional music fest there, but check for schedules. Out back of the restaurant is the brick oven, they cooked old Frank Bennett in. Also, is the small shack that was the movie home of Smokey Lonesome. If you walk around the little town, there are some neat old buildings, a nice train track view, and across the way in an old mill factory.
So if you are out Southeast of the city, and the timing is right (due to their limited hours), you can get a special treat of good food with a nifty backdrop by visiting the Whistlestop Café in Juliette. I’m sure it’ll be easy to talk your woman into making this stop. I apologize for writing this in a tone which might imply I am a true Southerner.
Address: 443 McCracken Street, Juliette, Georgia (Monroe County)
Hours: Sun-Fri 11-4 Sat 11-8
Website: The Whistle Stop Cafe
Cultural Significance: B
Food Quality: B+
Overall Rating: B+
Recommendations: You go to a place like this for “Southern Food” so check your diet at the door and stick with the southern stuff: BBQ, Fried Chicken, Country Fried Steak and, of course, the Fried Green Tomatoes and southern sides.
Significance: The location for the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.