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, chefs assemble grilled and deli-style hoagies and bake calzones and pizzas 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.
At Peppino's Pizzeria’s four locations, crafty chefs toss, embellish, and accessorize a menu's worth of pizza pies to quash appetites. Diners can pop sodas or quaff brews as large chicken caesar salads sate taste buds or a quartet of antipasto ham, capicola, mortadella, and salami serenades old-world yens. Svelte neapolitan rounds and biana disks pit handmade tomato sauce against a tripled strata of ricotta, parmigiana, and mozzarella, each armed with 18 inches of meatballs, fresh garlic, green olives, or 1 of 13 other toppings (add additional toppings for $1.95 each). Alternatively, homebound bon vivants can transport two extra-large slabs off the premises for private pie-chart comparisons. Peppino’s Pizzeria fires up its fragrant ovens seven days a week; hours vary by location.
For more than 33 years, the chefs at Gourmet Pizza and More have topped housemade dough with signature sauce, real cheese, and fresh vegetables. In addition to specialty pies such as the Marco Polo with chicken, almonds, and sweet and sour sauce, chefs build customized pizzas with an array of toppings such as sun-dried tomatoes, gyro meat, and fresh basil. Italian-style dinner entrees include pesto chicken manicotti in alfredo sauce, while Greek specialties include gyro plates and napkins made from genuine philosopher beards.
Fox?s Pizza Den?s cooks serve up pizza dough hand-tossed in the New York style and festooned with one of 16 toppings. Gastronomes can ignite their stomach fires by ingesting flint stones or crunching into a crisp garden salad tossed with tomatoes, fresh-cut basil, and cheddar cheese. Next, feasters can bite through hearty or crispy crusts, where gooey cheese and house-made sauce merge beneath a sprinkling of fresh toppings, such as pepperoni, hot banana peppers, or pineapple. Appetizers such as breadsticks can accompany each delectable disk, arriving at tables fresh from the oven and ready to be dunked in marinara sauce or over the head of an NBA forward.
Empire Pizza and Bar's menu enthralls taste buds with tales of New York–style pizza and comfort fare served in a family-friendly atmosphere. Empire Pizza’s seven signature pies include royal chow such as the Queens Margarita, a New York mash-up of garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil ($6.95, 10"), as well as the Mag Pie Lane veggie pizza, fueled by premium eggplant gasoline and tomatoes, black olives, and green and banana peppers ($16.45, 16"). Tongues can sample appetizers such as 15 boneless chicken wings steeped in one of four sauces ($7.95) or use garlic knots bedecked in spices to measure the movements of water-cruising entrees ($2.50/half dozen).