|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2007)|
|Key people||Marc Weinstein, Mike Nicholson, and Rocky Reeves Founders
Buddy Finethy Creative Director
|Products||Pizza, calzones, hoagies, salads, beer|
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers is a pizzeria that was established in Atlanta, Georgia in 1974 and operates as a restaurant franchise with over 150 locations throughout the United States. Its headquarters are in unincorporated Fulton County, Georgia.
Mellow Mushroom specializes in pizza, but also serves calzones, hoagies, salads, and appetizers. Pizza is sold in three sizes, but slices are available during lunch and late night at some locations. Some Mellow Mushrooms deliver; those that do not have a pick-up option. They often feature a large selection of beer, typically 20-40 beers on draft and 50 or more bottles. Each store is decorated differently and sometimes there is a unifying theme to the artwork. Tie-dye and colorful mushrooms are a common theme for locations. Some stores occasionally feature live music, trivia competitions, or bingo. Many of the locations participate in a beer-purchase loyalty program called Beer Club. The franchise aims to give customers a "relaxing yet eclectic dining experience" with "easygoing atmosphere and funky decor" Mellow Mushroom also sells branded merchandise and clothing on their website Mellow Gear and at stores.
Mellow Mushroom opened in 1974 when two college students from Georgia Tech, later joined by a third from the University of Georgia, founded a business that reflected their eccentric philosophies. They saw pizza baking as an art form, and wanted to bring joy to others by perfecting the art of pizza. The first store was opened on Spring Street in Atlanta. To accommodate the long lines and growing popularity, more locations were opened in and around Atlanta. In the late 80's, the first franchise was opened by an employee, followed by customer-owned franchises, and then to friends of employees and customers. Each franchise is locally-owned and operated with a unique feel. The first franchise to be located outside of Atlanta was in Athens, Georgia, near the University of Georgia. That store renovated a former Wendy's and was open until 2006. In the summer of 2007, it relocated to Clayton Street in downtown Athens.
There are several dozen locations operating in Atlanta, and elsewhere in Georgia, Alabama, Colorado, Louisiana, Indiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Arizona, Ohio, Tennessee, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. Most stores are within the Southeastern United States, with a high concentration of them in college towns. However, in 2011 Mellow Mushroom reached the west coast and opened up in Portland, Oregon.
Beginning in 2000, the franchise expanded outside college markets to urban areas such as Jacksonville, Florida and Denver. In 2010, the following locations opened: Johnson City, TN, Germantown, TN, Suwanee, GA, Pigeon Forge, TN, Denver, CO, Hickory, NC, Charlotte, NC, and Wilder, KY. In 2011, the following locations opened: Washington, DC, Portland, OR, Rogers, AR, Arlington, TX, Greensboro, NC, Cary, NC, Lexington, SC, Fayetteville, NC, Rome, GA, Southern Pines, NC, a second location in Charleston, SC, Tempe, AZ, Dublin, OH, Florence, SC, Gatlinburg, TN, Bristol, VA, a second location in Chattanooga, TN (the first had opened in 2001), and a second location in Charlotte, NC.
The following Mellow locations opened in 2012: Greenville, NC, Bowling Green, KY, Mount Dora, FL, Southlake, TX, Louisville, KY, Pooler, GA, a third location in Phoenix, AZ, Houston, TX, and New Orleans, LA.
In 2013, Mellow Mushroom locations opened in Memphis, TN, Herndon, VA, St. Augustine, FL, Park Meadows, CO, Pigeon Forge Island, West Little Rock, AR, the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond, VA, and Oak Street in New Orleans.
The visual Identity of Mellow Mushroom Pizza was defined during their early franchising phase by Atlanta artist Buddy Finethy. Finethy created and refined the signature cast of characters that identified the chain. The cast includes "Mel O. Mushroom", his ace sidekick "Dude Shroomington", psychedelic sorcerer "The Wizard", "Melody Mushroom", and three smaller shrooms known as "The Funguys"- Por, Toe, and Bello. Finethy also helped refine and stratify the influences that informed the Mellow Mushroom aesthetic.
In 2011 the Mellow Mushroom Logo was redesigned by Buddy Finethy and Dusty Griffin. The new logo features a more refined version of "Mel O. Mushroom" holding a slice of pizza.
- "Contact Us." Mellow Mushroom. Retrieved on February 20, 2012. "5375 Drake Drive Atlanta, GA 30336"
- Billotto, Heidi. Mellow Mushroom Restaurant. WSOC TV. 11 June 2003.
- "About Us". Mellow Mushroom. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- "Mellow Mushroom Franchising - Where We Are". Mellowfranchise.com. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- Mellow Mushroom website
- Mellow Mushroom franchising site
- Mellow Mushroom Beer Club
- Mellow Gear
- Mellow jobs