Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Visit to Mellow Mushroom

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Today for lunch, Food News writer Pam Denney and I visited Mellow Mushroom, which opened Monday in Germantown.

The plan was to get there at 1 p.m. to avoid the lunch crowd. We got there at 1:30 p.m. The place was packed.

crowd.jpg

Despite the line, we got seated immediately and were in and out of there in one hour. That's because the restaurant, which seats about 170, has (at least for now) 90 employees working hard.

Our waitress told us that, yes, this lunch was busy nothing compared to the night-time crowd.

I spotted owner Cary Fairless as he was pitching in by wiping down a table. He's pictured below with his wife Lori.

caryandlori.jpg

Cary took some time to tell us about the restaurant's decor. There's a section that mimics the Orpheum and a mural image that has a nod to Stax as well. Along one wall is a mural that features all of Memphis' icons — B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis — albeit with the faces of Mellow Mushroom big-wigs. Below is "Elvis."

elvis.jpg

I asked Cary if, given the crowds, he considered the place open already or was he planning on having a grand opening. "Probably not," he answered. "I think we are opened and moving."

Pam and I shared a field greens salad, a bowl of tomato bisque (excellent!), and a "Mega Veggie" pizza.

pizza.jpg

Pam and I agreed that the pizza — toppings included broccoli, onions, red peppers, and artichoke — really stood out for its crust, which hit the perfect balance between thin and thick.

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