When people see the lava lamps, the tie-dyed shirts and the name “Mellow Mushroom” on the top of the building, they may confuse this pizza parlor for a psychedelic store.
“I like the fact that some people question the atmosphere and the name right off the bat when they see it,” owner Montie Slawson said. “They don’t realize that it’s some of the best pizzas you can ever eat.”
Montie Slawson and his wife, Kim Slawson, own the 1970s inspired Mellow Mushroom in Arlington, which opened Sept. 5 on the corner of Front and Center streets.
They also own the Fort Worth location, which was the first Mellow Mushroom in Texas.
The Slawsons, who grew up in Grand Prairie, remembered cruising up and down Cooper and Mitchell streets in the 1980s when they thought about building a location in Arlington.
“We just figured this was going to be the best spot,” Montie Slawson said.
Every Mellow Mushroom has the same ingredients in the pizza, hoagies, and appetizers — but each restaurant, including the new location in downtown Arlington, offers a different ambiance.
“Every Mellow Mushroom you go to in the country is going to have its own unique atmosphere, but it’s still going to keep with the Mellow Mushroom’s peace, love and happiness decor,” service manager Tiffany Alderson said.
Montie Slawson said the Fort Worth location has a “hippie-chic meets hacienda” look with a lot of wood and a homier feel.
They wanted to keep the same ’70s theme in the Arlington location, but with a more updated look.
“I wanted a more futuristic, space-shippy type look, and that’s what we went with,” Montie Slawson said.
The dining room is consumed with color as rainbow squares pave a path on the floor of the entryway, lava lamps and mushroom art adorn the walls and servers walk around in brightly tie-dyed shirts.
The theme carries on to the name of the pizzas, including Kosmic Karma, Funky Q Chicken, and Philosopher’s Pie.
A hippie-styled theme may set the mood for the Arlington location, but Alderson said it’s the food that makes Mellow Mushroom one-of-a-kind.
Mellow Mushroom is one of the few pizza restaurants to offer vegan-friendly ingredients and gluten-free dough.
“Our dough separates us from any other pizza place in the world,” Alderson said as she listed off unrefined flour, molasses, wheat germ, and fresh Georgia spring water as the ingredients.
Tatiyana Kellough, undeclared sophomore and server, said she likes the dietary options the restaurant offers.
“I think it’s awesome. I’m a vegan and this is like the closest vegan place to campus,” Kellough said.
Ronnie Venable, international business sophomore and server, said she likes that the corporate office seems very “laissez-faire” about how individual stores are run.
“It’s pretty laid back, and the owners are really involved,” Venable said, adding that the owners would help with a task as small as moving a trash can. “They really care about how things run.”
Courtesy of The Shorthorn
September 8, 2011
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