Monday, March 23, 2009

Mellow Mushroom: A Delicious Trip to Pizza Nirvana

My visit to the new Mellow Mushroom location in the UCF/Waterford Lakes area was exactly as I expected. And I was blown away. I expected a fun, hippie, psychedelic vibe in the atmosphere and décor. It was all that and so very well not over done. I expected the place to be full of raucous college kids and friendly, college-age servers. It surely was. I expected the pizza to be really good. The pizza was damn good. I’m always let down when I visit a restaurant with great expectations. The Mellow Mushroom lifted me up.

My companion and I split a 16” large Hawaiian Pizza ($15.00). The ham and pineapple toppings were sprinkled judiciously across the pie, and the mounds of ham were baked perfectly, attaining crispiness on the edges. This browning brought out the salty ham flavor to balance the sweetness of the pineapple. The sauce was nearly perfect: a little tang, a little sweetness, a little tomato bite. The whole wheat crust was perfectly handmade and baked perfectly throughout. The perimeter of the crust was so gooey thick, so soft and fluffy; it was as if the pie were ringed with bread sticks. Delicious bread sticks. We wished for a side of sauce to dip them in. The crust could have been an appetizer.

We chose, however, the Bruschetta ($5.50) for our appetizer, and it arrived moments after ordering. It was devoured moments after delivery. I would say this is the best order of Bruschetta I’ve ever had. French bread slices, toasted expertly and slathered with garlic butter and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, surrounded a mound of juicy, diced tomatoes, oregano and Feta cheese crumbles. The portion was right on for the price, but we could have eaten another plate or two.

When a place near a college is serving pizza and the stereo is rocking Led Zeppelin, you know beer will be flowing. It was flowing at Mellow Mushroom. They offer an impressive array of micro-brewed beers on tap and an impressive drink special: $2.95 pints 9 p.m. to close. However, they were out of six of the beers the night we dined. I sampled four of the micro-brews in a special 5 oz. per beer flight. Our waitress took the time to explain every beer I inquired about, and offered her suggestions. My favorites in order: Sea Dog Blueberry, Purple Haze, Boulder Beer Mojo, and Hazed and Infused.

Our server was very friendly, informative and attentive. She checked on us numerous times throughout the meal and always seemed to be within eyesight had we needed anything. A manager was seen numerous times walking the dining room. I can’t say enough about the excellent service.

The dining room was contemporarily styled with touches of sixties psychedelia splashed throughout. A cheerful place, the sixties look was not overdone, and it didn’t feel “themed,” although it certainly was. There’s a large bar at the back and an open patio area on the front. It’s a fun space to eat a meal or have some beers.

From everything I’d heard, I expected a lot from Mellow Mushroom. They delivered. The food, service and atmosphere were all great. This may now be my favorite place to eat pizza in Orlando.

Overall: 4 ½ Stuffed Hippies out of 5

Mellow Mushroom
11680 E. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32817


Mellow Mushroom on Urbanspoon


Eddie said...

Hey man, that's a awesome review! Well done

Brian said...

Mellow Mushroom is a favorite. The family and I like to go to the one on Aloma. Very kid friendly. Great Pizza. Great Beer.

Minor-Gross said...

I like this place too. There subs leave something to be desired but hey theyre a pizza place. Really good pizza.

J.G. said...

I agree with Brian; you can't beat the Winter Park location as a groovy neighborhood spot. Everything is delish there.