The same love for pizza and beer that fueled three college students in 1974 transformed their lives as they expanded their business from one rundown building in Atlanta to 100 Mellow Mushroom restaurants across 15 states today. Each eatery owes its individual style to each location's being locally owned and operated, much like impressionist painters owed their individual style to their number of ears. In the kitchens, grilled and deli-style hoagies are assembled and calzones and pizzas baked in stone hearths using dough made with natural spring water. Though many of the restaurant's dishes have remained on the menu since its inception, the culinary crew frequently devises new, often gluten-free, dishes to keep senior-ranking pepperonis from becoming too powerful. Servers pair dishes with their location's own set of local brews, which fit into a collection of up to 100 microbrewed and imported beers on tap and in bottles. Brewers such as Bell's, Abita, and Dogfish Head are also featured in regular beer events.
Garlic Brothers plates distinctive wood-fired feasts for lunch, dinner, and carryout on the eye-catching California Delta. The menu showcases more than 15 palate-prepping appetizers, such as steamed clams ($9.95), fried ravioli ($7.95), and a ceviche cocktail ($6.75), as well as grilled entrees that are fire-licked to maximum mouth-wateriness over almond wood. Aid a grilled ahi tuna in escaping its tyrannical-yet-tasty herb crust ($15.25) or embrace carnivorous cravings with a marinated tri-tip ($17.25 for dinner, $10.75 for lunch). Illustrate 2010 Census statistics with sliced sectors of the traditional margherita pizza ($13.95) or the Mona Lisa, in which mild italian sausage, kalamata olives, and sundried tomatoes puzzle art historians with an ambiguous smirk ($14.25).
Upper Crust dishes up a delectable menu of Brooklyn-style pies, fresh Italian fare, and hearty wines, all served in a stylish dining room. Upper Crust's pizza pros handcraft their own fresh dough before showering classic pizzas ($9+) and specialty pies ($11.25+) with fresh toppings and sincere compliments. Give flight to appetites with buffalo-style wings ($4.99–$17.99), or dive headfirst into the sauce pools surrounding the ravioli ($11.99/small, $19.99/large) and lasagna ($12.99/small, $20.99/large). Meanwhile, the mediterranean salad comes topped with feta cheese ($7.99/small, $10.99/large), and the fresh house salad presents a convenient alternative to covering your roof in croutons and dressing ($6.99/small, $9.99/large).
There's nothing humble about Humble Pie's pizza crust: Pulled from wood-fired ovens with a light, bubbly texture that crisps at lightly charred edges, it cracks to release a subtle aroma of smoke and yeast. For owner Tom Kaufman, the recipe demanded two months of tinkering and one month of building an underground vault to keep it from prying eyes. Customers tend to think the time was worth it as they bite into delicate slices topped with careful combinations of veggies, meats and cheeses, often locally sourced.
The potato-and-roasted-garlic pizza, for example, happily marries the fragrances of gorgonzola and rosemary. Retaining a botanical touch even on a meat-lover's pie, the Schreiners Sicilian Sausage sprinkles homemade mozzarella with "sprigs of roasted fennel [that] add another aromatic dimension," according to Phoenix New Times.
While the pizza may push some of the other menu items out of the limelight, fresh salads, grilled sandwiches, and traditional and twisted pastas earnestly pine for appetites' affections. The Our Way" Mac & Cheese adds aged white cheddar, italian bacon, and bread crumbs, distinguishing itself from its boxed brethren while forming an equally fun medium for kids' art projects, while wine, beer, and seasonal cocktails pair well with plates and pies alike.
In order to craft a truly authentic New York–style pizza, NYPD Pizza holds that only New York water will do. All of its kitchens boast a custom filtration system that replicates the flavor and character of Big Apple tap water, said to give the city's pizza and bagel dough its trademark flavor. At NYPD Pizza, that meticulously made dough is hand-tossed and baked inside of a classic stone oven. Similar care is put into selecting the rest of the ingredients—the kitchen strives to use only fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, and employs exclusive cheese blends from Wisconsin and California.
The menu sports more than 15 specialty pizzas, many of which are New York–themed, such as the signature Brooklyn Family topped with pepperoni, sausage, and fresh basil. Other standouts include a Veganizza with veggies, Daiya vegan cheese, and an optional gluten-free crust, and a Pizza Blanca white pie with olive oil and crushed garlic. Slices of pizza, bites of Italian sandwiches, and family-size helpings of pasta all pair well with sips of NYPD Uptown Amber Ale, a craft beer brewed exclusively for NYPD Pizza by The Phoenix Ale Brewery.
Instead of filling the walls with sports memorabilia, Santisi Brothers Pizzeria and Sports Grill covers them with more than 100 televisions that broadcast nearly every sporting event imaginable. While watching UFC matches and football games, guests dig into slices of New York–style pizza, barbecue buffalo wings, and fresh seafood. Pool tables and dartboards are available for use at any time, and poker tournaments and karaoke nights draw in revelers on a weekly basis.