After touring the state capital I was exhausted and ready to go home. But once I get going I really don’t want to stop until I get home. I knew I had to eat supper before I left so I headed out to the Mellow Mushroom.
The Mellow Mushroom is located on Gervais Street only minutes from the State House in an area that is currently undergoing revitalization as a major entertainment area of the city. Like most of the buildings in the area, the restaurant is housed in an old historic building.
I am lucky enough to be able to park right in front. When I enter there are only few people in front of me. The staff are trying to figure out where to place the two families in front of me, but soon someone comes over and asks how many. When I reply just myself, I am quickly ushered to a bistro table in the corner beside of the window. When I arrive Enter Sandman by Metallica is playing. This is your first clue this is not your typical restaurant.
Within just a minute my very handsome, young waiter comes over to take my drink order. I order my Coke and continue to peruse the menu. The menu here isn’t vast. It mainly consists of pizza, hoagies, calzones, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. So there are options for Vegans and Vegetarians alike. I wasn’t starving and wanted to take something home for John. I decided on the Caesar side salad and the small pizza with extra cheese on one half for John and pepperoni and sun-dried tomatoes on my side. My waiter quickly returns with my drink and takes my order. Now if you order pizza you are told up front this is not fast food and pizza takes 15-20 minutes. Fine with me, I am not in a hurry.
From my perch I get a great view of the State Capital building as the flood lights are starting to wash soft colors unto the building. I am certainly enjoying the view here. I imagine given its proximity to the capital building and downtown it must also be a popular place during the week for business lunches.
Inside the lighting is low. After placing my order I take a trip to the ladies room and my eyes get quite a shock as I go from low lighting to a neon hot-pink bathroom! Back outside I notice a huge mushroom on one of the far walls. I am not sure what this building was once used for, but it seems very small for such a trendy establishment. Downstairs in the non-smoking section there isn’t a lot of room with only about a dozen booths and about 4 tables. Since I don’t smoke I never ventured upstairs so I am not sure how much room was up there. But judging by the noise it must be much bigger and sounded like they must have more activities up stairs.
Within a few minutes my handsome waiter brings out my side salad which is huge. The salad has a rich creamy dressing, homemade croutons, and Parmesan cheese. They do seem to like their Parmesan and it is almost a bit to much since it is the kind out of a green can and not fresh. My pizza arrives about 15 minutes later. The crust is thick and buttery and the pizza is delicious. This pizza is certainly one of the best pies I have had lately and certainly hits the spot since by now I was getting hungry.
Now I arrived a little after 5 and it was already crowded. With in about 15 minutes there was already a line forming outside and people trying to squeeze inside since it was cold outside. This fashionable restaurant caters to everyone. I see everyone from an older couple with their grandkids in tow to a soccer team coming in as I am finishing up my meal. With the loud music and the noise from patrons it is hard to hear someone talking. So this is the place to take a date after a date or two and you have had time to talk and get to know each other. They also have lots of "best of awards" all over the walls. And judging by my meal they deserve it. They do have a full service bar.
As I finish up my last bite of pizza and push my plate back, my handsome waiter once again appears with a Togo box without me having to even ask. The waiter was a hottie, the food was great, and so was the service. What more could I ask for? I make my way past patrons in line for their own piece of pie and once again drag myself back in my van. By this time I notice the street is starting to fill up with hungry patrons and cars. I am glad I have already eaten and beat the crowd. I settle back in my seat for my 2 hour drive back home with my tummy quite happy.
The Mellow Mushroom is a chain of restaurant all over the South. There is limited parking close by, so I would try to get an early start. Prices are in the $10-$20 pp price range. They are open:
Mon-Thur. 11am – 10pm
Fri-Sat 11am – 12am
Website: www.mellowmushroom.com. You can also go to www.vistaontheriver.com to find out more about this up and coming area including its dining and entertainment offerings.