Pizza, large draft beer selection
How to save $$: Go Monday from 4pm-close for a $5 small 1-topping pizza
Mellow Mushroom has been keeping Joe College full since the ’70s in a college town near you. Currently, it’s sporting 120+ franchised locations (3 in the Charleston area) and, as of recently, has made a big push outside of its comfortable college-town-only business mode and expanded into larger urban areas in the Southeast.
It has, for the most part, brilliantly branded the “stereotypical pizza joint.” And the pizza is freakin good.
When you enter, you’ll find psychedelic décor, a real heady-sounding menu and, with prices like $13+ for a small, it’s got the classicly-ironic-music-festival-hippy attitude of overpriced food, catering to the more-inclined-to-bartering hippy. How in the hell will your target audience afford this, dudes?
We headed over on a Sunday night to find the atmosphere fun and lively, starting off with the KOSMIC KARMA ($12.49 for a small, personal-sized, 10 inch, 4 slice). This one started with a red sauce base and feta and mozzarella as the cheeses. It is then topped with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and Roma tomatoes and completed with a pesto swirl. This pizza gives you a great mixture of pesto and traditional tomato sauce if you just can’t seem to make up on your mind between pizzas, although you should know that the pesto was the predominant flavor. Only complaint, which I’ve learned is mostly seeded in personal preference, the whole slices of tomato can render the pizza a bit soggy – but that might be a positive for you.
If you haven’t tried Mellow’s pizza before, I bet the first thing you’d notice is the dough. I can’t figure out what sets this gooey-but-not-soggy crust apart from other pizza joints, but there’s something different about it. How do they make it taste so good?! I’m not sure, but you’ll be hooked.
Next up, the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR ($12.99 for a small) was solidly delicious and more my style than the Kosmic Karma. This was a pesto base with button and Portobello mushrooms, feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach and jalapeños. Per the waitress’ suggestion, I added spicy ground sausage, which made it over-the-top good with plenty of heat. And, although the feta was a little overpowered by the mozzarella, the delicious pesto more than made up for it.
We ought to mention that the SIGNATURE ESPERANZA DRESSING is, well, dank for lack of a more perfectly appropriate word. We skipped the salad on this visit, but it usually is quite good, especially with this awesome dressing—I recommend saving some for dipping any extra crust.
BOTTOM LINE: Finally, a pizza joint for the $700 VIP Ticket Bonnaroo crowd. Skip the tie-dye and hemp around here, the more franchises Mellow gets, the more corporate it becomes. But, we have a feeling that once you try the dank pizza, you can’t help but come back.