the Mellow Mushroom
Posted by Tampa Bay Food Monster on March 10, 2011
do you like pizza? are you stoned? if the answer to one or both of these questions is “uh…. what?”, then the mellow mushroom is for you!! it’s the hippie-themed pizzeria chain opened by a couple of stoners, with unique pizza combinations and trippy-as-hell decorations. case in point:
so sometimes it looks like the it’s a small world ride on the inside. and there are usually giant murals featuring sixties music artists on the walls, such as janis joplin, jimi hendrix, or john lennon. sometimes even people without any j’s in their names! but the interior decorations are just an indication of their progressive philosophies. also maybe of their employee’s habits outside of work. maybe. but that ‘sense of awesomeness’, as some (i) might put it, translates into their business sense.
the first mellow mushroom opened up in atlanta georgia, and as they grew, they allowed their other locally owned and operated locations to take on their own forms and styles. each has their own art and look, but every location has the same menu, and each one i’ve been to has been just as high quality as the last. that goes for atmosphere as well as food.
this particular location, on sheldon in citrus park, is quite large, part of a strip mall, and has three fairly big indoors dining areas, a patio, and a full bar complete with those little jaeger machines (a sure sign of a cool place). and yes, they also have those scary mushroom statues looming over the restaurant, quietly watching. and waiting.
the menu covers appetizers, salads, calzones, hoagies, and of course pizza. they also have a wide selection of beers to choose from, both bottled and tapped. while i was there, i got some awesome draught beer, but once again i was too foolish to write down what it was called. i think it was a black stout, but i can’t quite remember, which is a shame because it was one of the best beers i’ve ever had.
we ordered wings, as is my custom. as i recall, these wings were mediocre. they had a baked flavor to them, with a fairly standard, ‘nothing special’ sauce. texturally, they were a bit on the soggy side, but in no way inedible. we worked our way through them, but i wouldn’t bother ordering them again. my friend, on the other hand, rather enjoyed them. to each their own. i can recommend, though, the hummus as an appetizer.
so the main attraction at mellow mushroom is the pizza. you can order a pizza with any number of their (sometimes exotic) toppings, which you can browse through on their menu, or you can order one of their many specialty pizzas. this is the route i suggest. they come up with incredible combinations, making use of different cheeses and sauces in addition to the toppings, creating pizzas you’d probably never think up yourself. and then they give them wacky fun names. such as:
The White Rabbit
Oil & Garlic Base, Sundried Tomatoes, Spinach, Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Artichoke Hearts & Feta Cheese. Try Adding a Swirl of Pesto or Chicken for a little extra.
Oil & Garlic Base, Jerk Meatballs, Mozzarella, Bacon, Banana Peppers, and Pineapple. The Kush’s crust is buttered, salted and sprinkled with Parmesan.
Steak, Portobello Mushroom Cap, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Provolone, Feta, and Mozzarella Cheeses on an Oil and Garlic Base.
The Soma Pie
Pesto Base, Mozzarella, Sausage, Jerk Chicken & Onions.
but i always get the same pizza, every time i go back. because it’s perfect.
the magical mystery tour. named after the great beatles album, this pizza has a pesto base, and is covered with mozzarella cheese, both button and portobello mushrooms, spinach, jalapeños, then lovingly sprinkled with feta cheese. it can be ordered with chicken if you need a meat, but the mushrooms are always enough for me. it is deliciously unique; the jalapeños and the feta are major players in the taste department, with the pesto base providing a wholly different pizza experience than i’m used to. the cheese is quality, and the crust is perfect and chewy at the ends. it truly is magical. and mysterious.
it’s a great pizza place, with its own personality. and with each location providing their own spin on the atmosphere, you’re sure to be satisfied with the delicious pizza and the hilariously entertaining staff. they… they on somethin.
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