I’m always down for a road trip. Since moving to Atlanta, Georgia a few years ago, my family and I have spent most of our weekends exploring little towns and new cities up and down the east coast.
We fell in love with Mobile, Alabama, visited St. Louis in under 30 minutes, and saw Stephen King’s house up in Bangor, Maine. One of our very favorite things to do on road trips is check out filming locations from movies and television shows. They are almost always free to visit (unless you visit something like Central Perk from Friends, which is part of the Universal Studios tour in Los Angeles), and you can get some really cool and unique travel photos.
While there are obviously some great ones around Los Angeles (The Brady Bunch house, for example), there are tons of great locations throughout the rest of the U.S., as well. They range from “ah, that’s cool” like that giant peach from House of Cards to “HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING” like the houses from Hocus Pocus. (A life changing experience for me, obviously.)
When researching day trips from Atlanta, I realized that a famous filming location from a quintessential southern film was about 90 minutes away: The Whistle Stop Cafe from Fried Green Tomatoes.
What?! Since Idgie Threadgoode is my literary/movie character spirit animal, I was shocked that I hadn’t realized this sooner. Better late than never, though. Here’s how to visit Whistle Stop Cafe from Fried Green Tomatoes.
Whistle Stop Cafe from Fried Green Tomatoes in Juliette, Georgia
Whistle Stop Cafe is located in downtown Juliette, Georgia. It’s about a 90 minute drive from Atlanta, or a 30 minute drive from Macon, Georgia. When you go to this town you’ll feel like you stepped back in time. It’s small, quiet, quant. In addition to the Cafe, there are little shops and cute buildings.
The Cafe opened at 11:00 a.m., so I got to the town at around 9:30 to wander, take some photos that didn’t have crowds of people in them, and be first in line when the Cafe opened up. If you’re planning on eating there, highly recommend getting into Juliette at least half an hour before opening and being first in line. There was a wait pretty much immediately.
While you’re waiting, you can wander around and see some pretty great things from the film.
The sign in the front window, obviously:
The notorious barbecue area out back:
The “gravesite” for Buddy’s arm:
And lots of other photo-worthy buildings with “Whistle Stop” on them:
It really is a cute space to walk around in, and the locals fully expect you to walk around, take pictures, and explore. Essentially everyone visiting was there because they are fans of the movie, so don’t be shy about breaking out your geek-out-tourist mode. 😉
Eating at Whistle Stop Cafe from Fried Green Tomatoes
If you have time to actually eat at Whistle Stop Cafe, DO IT DO IT DO IT. Sometimes places like this can be tourist traps and mediocre. Whistle Stop Cafe is not one of those places. The food is legit good, especially if southern cuisine is your thing.
Inside the restaurant is super cute and very similar to how it appeared in the movie:
If you’re going to go to Whistle Stop Cafe, you might as well go for “the full experience” kind of meal. This means ordering everything that you’re supposed to try, trying a few bites of everything, and then having leftovers for days. Southern food is heavy, y’all.
Here’s what I ordered:
- Fried Green Tomatoes (You have to. They’re the real deal.)
- Blue Plate Special (Changes daily. Essentially a meat, two sides, and cornbread. On the day I went it was Smoked Chicken, and then I selected collard greens and Mac and cheese as the sides—both delish.)
- Pecan Cobbler (Recommended by my server and seriously one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.)
- Sweet Tea (I’m picky about my sweet tea, and the tea here was legit.)
Again, this was a ton of food that could have easily been shared by my entire family.
If you’re taking this approach, I would highly recommend eating the fried green tomatoes there (they are best when hot), taking a few bites from your Blue Plate Special (then taking the rest to-go), and then enjoying your pecan cobbler there (that ice cream really makes it, and obviously ice cream doesn’t travel well).
The service was wonderful—efficient as hell and the staff was delightful. All-in-all, everything about my day exploring Juliette, Georgia was perfectly lovely. If you’re a fan of the film, or just looking for something really southern to do in Georgia, visiting this little town is a solid option.
Whistle Stop Cafe