Confession: when we plan a family vacation, one of the first things we take into consideration is where we’re going to eat. Sometimes we look for a fine dining experience. Other times, we just look for a taste of the local palate. But we’re the type who always have our dining reservations made 180 days in advance, if you get my drift.
Of course, my kids – at 14 and 8 – aren’t really familiar with the movie “Mystic Pizza,” which launched Julia Roberts‘ career way back in ’88. But my husband and I ate there a couple of years ago on a trip to Mystic, and I found it to be a charming little pizza parlor tucked away in a cute downtown shopping area overlooking the Mystic River. Besides, I remembered the pizza was really really good, in a different way I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was looking forward to trying it again.
Our first night in Mystic, we headed to town – and to dinner – around 7. We tried to explain the “Mystic Pizza” concept to the kids as we hiked up the hill to the pizza parlor. Seated immediately, we ordered our own “slices of heaven” – half with bacon – and settled back in the cushy booth to soak in the atmosphere. The walls are adorned with assorted memorabilia of my growing up years, including a heavy sprinkling of framed 8 by 10’s of the movie. Our pizza arrived piping hot and delicious. It may be cliche to those who know the film, but there really was something different and very tasty about the sauce.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not my favorite pizza (Mack and Manco in Ocean City, NJ, has held that title for years!) but it was definitely worth planning on the next time we’re in Mystic. And in fact, we did go back again for lunch the next day after visiting the local record store (the stop my son Max requested – the store was closed the night before). This time, we shared a small pizza, some mozzarella sticks and some potato skins, and left very happy.
This isn’t a fine dining destination by any stretch, but for fans of the movie – or fans of yummy pizza – Mystic Pizza is a great choice!