location: Big Patty's Pie House
Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?
Big Patty's Pie House.
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
South of the I-49, near Bunkie, Louisiana.
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 11 of Season One, "To Love Is To Bury".
Sookie read the mind of a serial killer when he attacked her, and glimpsed a memory of a previous murder. In the vision, she saw that the victim was wearing a waitress uniform and a name tag. The tag read "Cindy", and it appeared that she worked at a place called something like "Patty's Pies".
Hoping to find the killer before he finds her again, Sookie searches the Yellow Pages for the name.
But Sam tells her he knows the place, that it's called "Big Patty's Pie House", and is near Bunkie.
So they go there to try to find out more about the dead waitress and her killer.
At Big Patty's, they first encounter a dim-witted waitress named Harley, who rattles off a list of pies in a monotone voice.
But then an older gentleman, by the name of Buster, speaks up. He tells them he knows about Cindy, and will tell them (in return for eating the two pieces of pie he ordered for them).
They sit at the counter with Buster, and he tells them that Cindy moved into town with her brother a couple of months before someone strangled her.
When Sookie asks if they can speak with the brother, Buster tells her that "he was gone by the time they found her body", and that police thought that he might have been murdered too, or that he might have killed her, but that there wasn't any conclusive evidence.
Sam asks what the brother's name was, and Buster tells them it was Drew Marshall. He also tells them that there were rumors that Cindy had been a fang-banger (someone who has sex with vampires), which is important, since this serial killer has been targeting such women.
Sookie goes to a local sheriff and asks him to fax her a photo of Drew
Marshall. It turns out to be someone she knows.)
Q. What is it actually, in real life?
A diner - but nowhere near Louisiana.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. The Patty's Pies scene was shot at Chip's Restaurant, at 11908 Hawthorne Blvd, in Hawthorne, CA.
That's at the southeast corner of Hawthorne Blvd and W. 119th Street, just five blocks south of the Century (105) Freeway, and just east of the San Diego (405) Freeway. It's just past the (now-closed) Hawthorne Mall, and is about two miles southeast of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
The classic Googie-style diner was built in 1955. Although many old diners like Chip's are now open only for filming, Chip's is still going strong as a working restaurant.
just a couple of blocks away from the Bon
Temps Police Station.)
shot the photo below in 2009:
city of Hawthorne isn't usually an unsafe place, but parts of it
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. The key to finding this location was freeze-framing the first opening seconds of the scene.
Sookie & Sam enter the diner, I caught a glimpse of the red roof
of a gas station across the street, and the last two letters of the gas
station's sign: "TY".
Below is a blurry blow-up (from the show ) of the view outside the door of Big Polly's Pie House.
Since I live in L.A., the first thing that came to my mind was "ThrifTY" gas stations, which are found all over SoCal. The problem then became one of finding the right Thrifty gas station...
a search for So Cal "Thrifty" locations, and after a very
long search via Google StreetView, I was finally able to find one right
across the street from a diner.
below is a matching shot of the gas station, that I took while standing
outside the door of Chip's.
It turned out to be "Chip's Diner" in Hawthorne, which made sense, since I knew that the city of Hawthorne was one of the cities where "True Blood" had reportedly filmed. I just hadn't know what they filmed there. And the answer, it's clear, was the Big Patty's Pie House scene!
Online photos of the diner showed that the exterior matched up nicely with the layout of the windows, doors and patio glimpsed during the scene. I then went there in person to double-check and shot the photos you see on this page.
True Blood screenshots from the show & all related characters &
elements are trademarks of and © HBO.
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