Like waking a hibernating bear, waking a dormant stomach causes violent growls that can only be silenced by slices of pizza and 20 minutes of gentle patting. Ward off vicious appetites with today's Groupon: for $10, you get $20 worth of pizza, calzones, salads, beer and more at Mellow Mushroom.
Mellow Mushroom's menu features stone-baked pizzas, hoagies, and calzones with regular or gluten-free crusts, all of which can be washed down with more than 50 on-tap domestic and craft beers. The meatball appetizer ($7) covers meatballs in fresh mozzarella and floats them down a river of red sauce, and a grilled tofu hoagie ($6–$9.50) packs teriyaki tofu, grilled mushrooms, and green peppers between bread. Chefs prepare the Philosopher's pie with grilled steak, portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives and replace traditional marinara with olive oil and garlic ($13.50–$25.50). Whereas the house-special pizza ($13–$25) proudly displays its red-sauce base, five meat toppings, and bevy of vegetables, a more humble steak-and-cheese calzone ($11.50) hides its grilled steak, onions, and mushrooms inside a breaded cocoon.
Warm lighting spills from an eclectic collection of lighting fixtures that dangle above sleek high-top tables and booths flanked by eccentric artwork. Ceiling-to-floor wood paneling surrounds patrons, providing a dining experience preferred by beavers and ducks.
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. Craft brewers are also featured in regular beer events.