Sunday, May 18, 2008

Restaurant Review - Mellow Mushroom, 2015 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL

Mellow MushroomNo, it’s not an all-mushroom menu at Mellow Mushroom, as my oldest son envisioned as we headed to the restaurant on Aloma Avenue in Winter Park with Grandma and Grandpa. It’s actually a pizzeria although it’s hard to tell from the cute chalet-looking exterior with a large covered patio on the side. The patio had plenty of whirling fans above and looked like it might be okay, even in the summer. There are a few parking spaces around the actual restaurant itself with more parking available at the nearby shopping mall.

The interior of the space is bright yellow with reproductions of famous Masters paintings throughout featuring the two Mellow Mushroom mascots, who are mushrooms, of course. So think "Starry Night" with two mellow mushrooms hanging out viewing the stars. The rest of the décor is very subtly psychedelic including the motto of “Give Pizza Chance”. We were seated at a table by the small bar, near the booths that are on the raised level of the restaurant. While there is no children’s menu, our server brought the boys coloring pages and crayons to keep them busy.

After reaching the table, LB decided he needed to go potty so we followed the signs to the “Mellow Flushrooms” which had me chuckling. When we returned to the table, we perused the menu. Besides pizzas and calzones, there are also salads, hoagies, and appetizers, as well as mircobrew beers and wine. There is an emphasis on healthy and premium offerings such as pizza toppings like tofu, tempeh (another soy-based product like tofu), pesto, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and other fresh ingredients. There’s also a hummus appetizer and most of the hoagies are topped with sprouts.

We ordered drinks, including iced tea for BB and chocolate milk for LB. Grandpa tried one of the microbrew beers called Purple Haze - a wheat-based beer with raspberry tones. He liked it but wished it had more fruit flavor. I almost tried the “Monk in the Trunk” microbrew just because of the name, but decided I wasn't in the mood for a beer and ordered an iced tea.

We decided to try a small order of Parmesan Pretzels (3 for $4.25 or 6 for $7) and a small Greek Parmesan Pretzelssalad ($4.75) to start. The pretzels are more like breadsticks in the shape of pretzels. They were thick and doughy, basted with butter and topped with Parmesan cheese, and served with a warm marinara sauce. They were very filling and had enough flavor even without the sauce on the side. The Greek salad came with the house Esperanza dressing which is like a light Caesar-type dressing. The dressing perfectly complemented the fresh crunchy vegetables, big chunks of feta cheese and Kalamata olives that topped the salad. BB helped me with the salad while everyone tried the pretzels.

Mellow Mushroom pizzas range from 10 inches to 16 inches and are $7.50 for a small cheese up to $22.50 for a large Specialty pizza. Hoagies are around $4.50 for a half and up to $7.75 for a House Special pizzawhole. To try a little bit of everything, we ordered a small cheese pizza, a half ham and cheese hoagie, and a medium House Special pizza ($17.50) which is topped with pepperoni, sausaSmall Cheese Pizzage, ground beef, onions, green peppers, mushrooms, black olives, tomatoes, bacon, ham and extra cheese. Wow, when they brought the House Special pizza, it was completely loaded with meat and veggie toppings yet still had a generous Parmesan-topped crust border. Each slice was like a meal in itself and the dough is more bread-like than a NY-style crust. The cheese pizza was a perfect size for an adult or for two kids to share. Grandma, Grandpa and BB worked on the specialty pizza while LB and I shared the cheese pizza. The cheese was nice and stringy and the Parmesan coated crust really added to the flavor.
Ham and Cheese Hoagie
The ham and cheese sandwich, which was for me along with two slices of the cheese pizza, was on a toasted sub roll with thick slices of ham and cheese, generously topped with sprouts, and with mayo as the only dressing. I typically prefer thin-sliced ham so the thick-sliced was a little too "hammy" for me. Also, I would have liked more dressing, such as the Esperanza, so I probably wouldn't order a hoagie again. I did like how the sprouts added a nice crunchy texture, though.

Needless to say, we brought home leftovers, and will definitely be back for more.

Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great find! Thanks for posting. It's the kind of place I wouldn't have known about otherwise. :-)

Vic said...

They are GREAT! I go to the one in Jax on Southside Blvd very consistent.

Dining Review Tampa said...

I thought the prices were high for the amount of food (pizza anyways). We ordered a small to share and it was $13...the same pizza in a mediun was over $17. I guess to get a small cheese for one person is an ok value though. The crust was very tasty though!

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