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Slice of Life

Will Samuel Goldwyn Co’s “Mystic Pizza” do for Steve Zelepos’ restaurant what singer Arlo Guthrie’s and director Arthur Penn’s “Alice’s Restaurant” once did for that little eatery in Stockbridge, Mass?

Zelepos operates Mystic Pizza, a 50-seat restaurant in Mystic, Conn., midway ‘twixt Boston and New York City.

The romantic comedy--which opened last Friday--is already helping business at the restaurant.

“We’ve had people come in from out of state simply because they’d seen posters for the movie,” said the Greek-born Zelepos, who opened his doors 16 years ago.

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“Mystic Pizza” writer Amy Jones, who briefly lived in the town, felt the restaurant’s name “was a great movie title.” It helped inspire her tale about three waitresses coming of age one summer while waiting tables. (Donald Petrie directs; Julia Roberts, Annabeth Gish and Vincent D’Onofrio star.)

Zelepos was paid for the use of the name and the right to shoot exteriors of his establishment when production began last year (interiors were shot at a nearby abandoned store).

The film premiered in Mystic last Tuesday, and Zelepos called it “beautiful.” But he did have some technical criticisms: “All these movies have them throwing the dough in the air. That’s nonsense! The best pizza is made by hand (on a flat surface).

“The real Mystic pizzas are thicker than the ones in the movie and, of course, they’re better.”

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