I'm a New York girl through and through, and we are known food wise for two things: Pizza and Bagels. I never cared so much about bagels, but to this day nearly 5 years after going gluten free I can't be near a regular pizza without wanting to devour it and/or weep. I'll even open my windows if I'm carrying a glutenous pizza to a party or something so as to not be enveloped in the smell. Regardless of the temperature. Gluten free pizza from a restaurant just gets old sometimes, as most companies use the same 10 inch rice flour pizza and you can be limited on your 'safe' toppings options. That's why I was extremely disappointed in what NY had to offer as far as gluten free pizza is concerned when I came across Mellow Mushroom.
I first caught a bite to eat at their Bowling Green Kentucky location last winter, and that's when the 'addiction' started. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable, and the pizza... well the pizza was the first gluten free pizza I got from a restaurant that was FOLDABLE. And it tasted phenomenal. Oh my freaking god I was excited. We ordered two pizzas: The Kosmic Karma (Red sauce base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and Roma tomatoes with a pesto swirl) and Gourmet white (Olive oil and garlic base with sun-dried tomatoes, Provolone, feta and mozzarella cheeses, Roma tomatoes and onions).The pizza had a thicker crust that was crunchy on the outside but soft in the center, a perfect NY pie. The two types of tomatoes on each pizza really added depth in flavor, and the pesto was amazing! I was instantly hooked.
Once more on that road trip we stopped to get our fix at the Durham North Carolina location. We were met with equally fantastic service and food, this time the plain pizza and the Veg Out veggie pie. This location had an added bonus of designated gluten free plates and a newer pie crust that was even thicker than the last. Apparently the company was rolling out a new recipe for their dough at this point (January 2014).
Back in the north I spent several weeks ranting and raving about Mellow Mushroom until I got my fix again in February at one of their Tampa Florida locations and again in April at their Adams Morgan location in Washington DC. Tampa had another bonus, as they offered a few of their appetizers that used pizza crust in gluten free varieties, however neither of these had the newer crust from the Durham location so I was a bit disappointed. I must have posted enough instagram photos of my Mellow Mushroom adventures at this point though because they reached out to me offering a free pizza. On learning I was from New York they offered to send me a gift card instead, which I greedily kept in my wallet until just last week when I visited their New Orleans Louisiana location. Even after a 8 month hiatus the pizza was still as good, although the gluten free menu remained the same and the 'new' crust from Durham was still no where to be found. They also didn't offer any gluten free appetizers with the crust.
All in all Mellow Mushroom is a great chain if you are looking for some gluten free pizza. Each restaurant, although they had varying procedures, did ensure my safety from cross contamination and I never had a reaction. What I liked most about Mellow though is that each restaurant had its own character, unlike many chains where the layout may differ but the decor is a carbon copy. Whether it was funky tie-dye decor, colorful 70s motifs or woodsy theme each design was creative and fun. I look forward to my next Mellow Mushroom experience, and thank the south for making a gluten free girls Pizza dreams!