Mellow Mushroom, What Happened To You?
Hello Pizza Fans! Chris here with another review for you on a local pizza joint. This time we went to Mellow Mushroom in Carmel and got to bring my parents along for the ride. Whenever my parents come to town, they always like to try a new pizza place. They live in an area of Northern Ohio that doesn't have too many options outside of chains and a few mom and pop shops.
In one of the first few trips my parents took to our new home in Indy, we took them to try out Mellow Mushroom. My parents absolutely loved it. For them, the most important part of a pizza is the crust. You can have the best tasting sauce, cheese or toppings, but if they don't like the crust it's not a winner.
So fast forward to this last weekend, we had not been to Mellow Mushroom since their first visit years ago. Since we have the blog we thought it would be a great reason to go back rather than take them to a new pizza place.
When we arrived it was not very busy, which was great because we go to sit anywhere we wanted. We sat down, looked over the menu, decided to order a few things along with the pizzas since there were four of us.
We ordered the Cheese Bread and the Pretzel Bites with two personal 10" pizzas.
Since you are obvi here for the pizza I will briefly talk about the appetizers.
The best one for me was the cheese bread. They basically take half of a large loaf of french bread and cut that into two pieces. Then they brush it with a garlic butter, top it with a fresh blend of cheese and sprinkle on some Italian seasoning before popping it in the oven. The bread was very light and airy. It was not chewy or hard like some baguettes when they are stale or toasted too long. The blend of cheese on top was wonderful, but I will say the garlic butter was lacking. On the menu I'm pretty sure they used a word like smothered in garlic butter and I can tell you this was not "smothered" as one would hope. It came with their Mellow red sauce (same thing they use on the pizza) and it is different than most pizza sauces you'll find in the area.
You know how Sour Patch Kids start sour and turn sweet, well this pizza sauce is kind of like that. It hits you with this brief acidity, but finishes with a nice sweetness. Do they have tomato sauceries like wineries? Maybe I should become the first tomato saucelier? I'll look into it and get back to you. [Editorial comment: I believe Chris is trying to make a pun combining sauce + sommelier).
The pretzel bites weren't really pretzels at all. Now this didn't let me down by any means because I was expecting it. If you get their normal "pretzels" it's just their pizza dough shaped like a pretzel, baked and then brushed with butter and parmesan. The bites were basically cut up bread sticks, brushed with butter and topped with a powdery parmesan cheese. The real stand out for this appetizer is the Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cheese. Eric loved it and kept the extra cheese in case he wanted to dip his pizza in it later. The bites themselves had a nice flavor. I mean you can't go wrong with something basted in butter and parmesan cheese. Have I used the words butter and parmesan too much? I mean I am obsessed with real butter and melty cheeses...if you couldn't tell. The bites were too crunchy though. It was odd, they were light and almost hollow on the inside, but you had to bite down to get past the outer crunch first. Just a tough and somewhat confusing texture to say the least. Eric and I were not impressed and neither were my parents.
Oh my god finally the pizza is here. If i had to type another word about these stupid appetizers I was gonna lose it. But look at you sticking in there until the good part of the story. You either love pizza or were hoping I'd write something funny at some point. Hopefully, my narrative was to your liking.
So how should I start this. You know when you go to Cedar Point as a kid or a theme park and everything is magical and fun and you wish the feeling would never end. You are super excited to go back on your next family vacay. Then the years go by and suddenly you are an adult walking through the same park and thinking to yourself, "Why did I ever like this place?" You look at the exorbitant cost for food or bottled water. Catch a carnival worker with his mascot head off smoking behind the funnel cake stand before accidentally stepping in a puddle of vomit by the tilt-o-whirl ride. This experience was kind of like that. Both Eric, my mother and I left wondering what happened to the place we fell in love with years ago.
It got off to a wrong start when the waitress brought out the wrong pizza. I asked for half cheese (so I could accurately assess the basics for my readers) and half pepperoni and bacon. She brought out a pepperoni pizza and as soon as she sat it in from of me she said, "This isn't what you ordered is it?" Well if you knew it wasn't what I ordered why did you ask, you wrote it on your pad lol. Now I am not a Karen/Kevin, people make mistakes all the time, so I told her my correct order and she went back and asked the kitchen to put in another one stat. On the bright side I got to keep/eat that one for free!
My excitement began to dwindle as I had a piece of the pepperoni pizza while I waited. It was just bland. The cheese had no brown bubbles on it. I was getting a little worried. My mom was even saying that she didn't have enough bacon on her ham and bacon pizza.
So my pizza finally came after everyone else was done and I started with the just-cheese side. I got a little jolt of excitement when I saw the butter fats floating on top of the cheese. I talked about them in my post about The Missing Brick. Sure enough, my first bite was nothing but blissful cheese and buttery flavor. I sadly enjoyed it more than the section with toppings.
Starting with the crust... I worried I was beginning to lose my sense of taste because the crust had no flavor. When you got to the edges it was great. They brush every crust with garlic butter and parmesan (OH I SAID IT AGAIN) so super tasty, but the crust actually holding the toppings.... worthless.
The sauce that I had earlier with my cheese bread was not present. Did they use a different sauce I wondered? There also wasn't enough sauce. I think Eric took a close up of my pizza slices and later pointed out to me that you couldn't even see sauce from the side. Hey Eric! Could you stick that photo in for me right here. Thanks boo. Oh and leave these sentences in the post. Eric makes the posts look pretty, I just type up my content. I know if I tried to do it he would tell me I'm not putting photos in the right places or pulling out the best stand out quotes. But we work together to make this a success!
What about that cheese though!? I will try not to use the b word again, but dang this cheese was great. I almost wish I had brought my garlic salt shaker to really hit that cheese bliss point. I love a good salty cheese and if it isn't salty I have no shame in making it salty.....and garlicy. What was odd is that the cheese did not taste as flavorful on the section of the pizza that had toppings. At times it was almost dull and flavorless. Again this was just one of those weird experiences where the rose tinted glasses were put on, then smacked of my face before going back on again. I don't know you guys. I'm having trouble writing this one because it was was like a what the @$&% kind of experience.
The pepperoni.......again no clue what happened. When we get Mellow Mushroom, my mother has to have stomach medicine because their pepperoni is that spicy. I looooove a good spicy roni just as much as butter and parmesan. This pepperoni was so lack luster. I would have had a better experience if I had given them a bag of Hormel from the Kroger and said put this on my pizza. And the bacon was in large chunks, like they cooked it in the oven as actual bacon strips and just cut the strips into thirds? I don't remember it being like that and I only had like four pieces on my pizza? Again y'all....sitting here and typing this up is really making me just think over and over "What the actual %&$@?"
I really was excited to write this blog post, was excited to come back and share why my family and I loved this place. This was just so disappointing. I really hope that this is somehow related to the pandemic and that things will turn around when we go back in the future. I just don't know. Finishing this I feel like Taylor Swift standing on stage at the VMAs while Kanye West says the Beyonce had the best video of all time. I just don't know what to do or say about this other than what I've written.