|This article may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (September 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Marc Weinstein and Mike Nicholson
Buddy Finethy Creative Director
|Products||Pizza, calzones, hoagies, salads, beer|
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers is a restaurant chain that was established in Atlanta, Georgia as a single pizzeria in 1974. It operates as a restaurant franchise with over 150 locations throughout the United States. Its headquarters are in unincorporated Fulton County, Georgia.
Mellow Mushroom restaurants specialize in pizza, but they also serve calzones, hoagies, salads, appetizers, and a wide beer selection. 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 bottled. 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.
Locations sell branded merchandise and clothing onsite and on a website Mellow Gear.
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. 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 '80s, 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. Beginning in 2000, the franchise expanded outside college markets to urban areas such as Jacksonville, Florida and Denver, Colorado. The chain has over 120 locations across 16 states.
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 sidekick Dude Shroomington, psychedelic sorcerer The Wizard, Melody Mushroom, and three smaller characters, Por, Toe, and Bello, known as The Funguys. Finethy, the " senior creative director" for the chain, also helped refine and stratify the influences that informed the Mellow Mushroom aesthetic.
In 2011 the Mellow Mushroom logo was redesigned by Finethy and Dusty Griffin. The new logo features a more refined version of Mel O. Mushroom holding a slice of pizza.
- "Contact Us". MellowMushroom.com. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- Billotto, Heidi (11 June 2003). "Mellow Mushroom Restaurant". WSOCTV.com.
- Bard Brutzman, Anna (April 1, 2011). "Honea Path Native Gives Pizzeria Its Mellow Touch". IndependentMail.com. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
- "About Us". MellowMushroom.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-24.
- "Honea Path native gives pizzeria its Mellow touch". Media & News, MellowMushroom.com. Retrieved October 7, 2016.