Pizzeria offers healthy options

From a tofu hoagie to a jerk chicken pizza, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakery offers healthy food at affordable prices in a comfortable environment.

Located at 1641 W. Pensacola St., Mellow Mushroom is different from the average pizza chain.

“The Mellow Mushroom is a unique dining experience with healthy alternative,” said Bret Cohen. Cohen and Chris Dodge, both of Thomasville, Ga. own Mellow Mushroom store No. 87.

The restaurant was founded on the campus of Georgia State University by three college students. There are now more than 90 restaurants in the Southeastern United States.

Cohen worked for Mellow Mushroom for three years in Atlanta before opening his own restaurant, located near all three universities in Tallahassee.

The restaurant displays both Florida A&M University and Florida State University paraphernalia.

“We have ordered an eagle (for Tallahassee Community College), and it’s coming soon,” Cohen said.

Outside the restaurant is an original totem pole displaying the mascot of every team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Eight flat screen plasma TVs, utilized heavily during sporting events, are scattered throughout the establishment.

The pizza bakery tries to provide a very inviting atmosphere, and the open kitchen allows customers to watch the chefs prepare the food and hand toss the dough.

“I love the environment,” said Casey Starck, 22, a TCC student. “The staff gets along great, and the owners are really kind.”

The preparation and ingredients are what separates Mellow Mushroom from other pizza chains, Cohen said.

The dough is made with high-gluten flour, no refined sugars and pure spring water. The chefs also use the freshest meats and cheeses and offer healthy toppings such as broccoli, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, tofu and tempeh.

Mellow Mushroom offers a variety of pizza, salads and calzones. Specialty items include the jerk chicken pizza, which is made of grilled chicken with pineapple and spices. Cohen said it is not for the “weak mind or the sensitive tongue.”

You can also find a wide array of salads like the Capri, a blend of fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and field greens drizzled with aged balsamic and olive oil. Mellow Mushroom also offers 16 beers on tap and domestic.

Elizabeth Love, 24, an artist from Tallahassee, said she is not a pizza person but loves the crust of the pizzas at Mellow Mushroom.

“I also love the salads,” Love said.

Store hours are Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

There is a $2 per slice pizza lunch special from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Mellow Mushroom also offers a private room for rent.