Hippy-Trippy Pizza Place

Back in the day, a Yellow Jacket landed on a mushroom and made it into a pizza…

Mellow Mushroom Sign

Years ago, when I was growing up in Atlanta, GA there was a small, local restaurant chain that had a few quirkily decorated locations in and around the city. The original was right next to the Georgia Tech campus, but the one I knew best was up on Roswell Rd. in Sandy Springs, near the corner of Johnson Ferry Rd. My brothers hung out there.

Being several years younger than my brothers, I had to wait my turn at the hangout. I also found the place a little bit intimidating because it was quite dark inside and the painted characters on the front window alluded to activities and a culture that I wasn’t a part of. Nonetheless, it was considered “cool” by a certain generation of folks to pick up a pizza there.

I don’t remember it being anything really spectacularly out of this world; it was just decent grub and what teen doesn’t like a decent pizza? We’d sometimes swing by there after a football game on a Friday night, but you’d have to be prepared to face the inevitable cloud of cigarette smoke. It was back in the days before cities and states starting passing non-smoking laws.

I liked ham and pineapple on my pizza. I can’t even tell you when I first learned about that combination; it was likely in middle school when Domino’s was becoming the market dominator in pizza delivery. I also would eat pepperoni, and if forced, sausage.

I recall that I also liked thicker crust back then. I liked the bite of a chewy crust, extra browned, but definitely not burnt. And sauce, man, it had to have a good sauce! Don’t forget the cheese. It’s gotta be hot and stringing a long trail that doesn’t bite through. You’ve got to stretch it out and then wind it around your finger and put it back on top of your slice for a second bite attempt.

Remember how we had no fear of food poisoning? We’d let the pizza sit in the box on the counter overnight, then get up the next morning and eat it cold! There wasn’t anything better.

Time marched on, I went away to college and grew up. Low and behold, so did my beloved pizza place. It even expanded into franchises in Indianapolis, Fort Worth, and Asheville! I’d say the recipe and ingredients got better too. The decor got upgraded and became much like a hippy-trippy amusement park. It’s been a couple of years since I ate at the place, but the memories are still good, and I’ve even shared the food with my children.

Anybody else remember the old Mellow Mushroom?

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