by Alicia Magera, Orange Dragonfly Media
Mellow Mushroom officially opened its third Phoenix area location on Monday, May 28, 2012. It joins the Mill Avenue and Happy Valley locations which already have a strong and loyal following. I had the pleasure of attending the Friends and Family Preview on May 26 with my partner in crime who never turns down the chance for pizza and beer.
The City North location is located right on High Street on a corner which allows for ample patio space and great people watching. The first thing you notice, as in the other two Mellow locations is the décor. I am a big fan of interesting and eye-catching interiors and Mellow Mushroom did not disappoint. This location is decked out in a music theme with the usual Mellow Mushroom “groovy baby” twist. Bright walls feature piano keys and instruments that are both whimsical and modern. The restaurant has a very open and industrial feeling.
I have spent a great deal of time in North Phoenix and thus a lot of time at the Happy Valley Mellow Mushroom so I am no stranger to the menu. We ordered a half order of the garlic parmesan pretzels for an appetizer. I am not sure what they put in their dough but it is definitely magical. I could eat the pretzels every day. They have the perfect combination of crispy outside and soft doughy inside. They also offer butter and salt as well as a cinnamon and honey option.
I am extremely loyal to the Funky Q Chicken pizza, but since yours truly accidently left a box of leftovers in my boyfriend’s truck over Christmas Vacation he tends to get queasy when I mention it so we opted for the Maui Wowie pizza. The pizza has a pesto base, mozzarella cheese, jerk chicken, Applewood smoked bacon, pineapple, and banana peppers. The only thing I didn’t like about the pizza was the jerk chicken. I don’t think it’s anything that Mellow does wrong, I think I really just dislike jerk seasoning. Other than that, the pizza was amazing. Again the dough is like a drug and I am definitely hooked on what they are selling. I never pictured enjoying pesto, bacon, and pineapple together but there is something about the sweetness of the pineapple, the saltiness of the bacon and the garlic in the pesto that just makes it meld perfectly together. I think if I ordered this again I would get just regular chicken as opposed to jerk chicken. My other half loved it with the jerk chicken so maybe I’m just the odd one out here.
The beer selection here, as with the other locations, is extensive and includes many local beer selections. I was disappointed to learn that they were out of San Tan Brewery’s Mr. Pineapple that night. The American Canned Craft Beer Festival was the previous weekend that I enjoyed with 52Beers52Weeks beer crew, and now I’m hooked on Pineapple beer. We decided to keep it local and enjoy Papago Brewery’s Orange Blossom beer. Also, order the Key Lime pie for dessert. Don’t ask. Just do. You’ll thank me later.
But honestly what I love about this location above all is the bar. It is situated right in the middle of the restaurant and has both indoor and outdoor seating at the bar. I’m a big fan of places with patios and I can definitely see myself out there on those cooler fall nights enjoying some good food, great beer, and fabulous friends. To me, what makes a great patio is access to the bar, lots of room to spread out with my friends, and good people watching. Mellow Mushroom City North has all of these to offer plus the promise of amazing food.