Mellow Mushroom in Asheville was a very pleasant surprise. We generally eat at Green Sage when we visit Western North Carolina, but they have changed their menu and gluten free policies, so there were fewer choices and I did not feel confident that we could safely eat there. We decided to check out Mellow Mushroom and I was so happy we did. The decor in the restaurant is funky-fun. In the courtyard entrance, there is an old Ronald McDonald statue sitting on a park bench. He was wearing fashionable shades and coated in multicolor splashes of paint. Upon entering, it was like a trip down the rabbit hole, complete with Cheshire Cat and White Rabbit. The host assured us that gluten free was no problem and seated us promptly. The back of the menu has the gluten free options, and this location has a separate dedicated gluten free kitchen. If you order off the gluten free menu exclusively, all your food comes from a dedicated kitchen. Our server was knowledgeable and sensitive to our needs.
We ordered hot wings and salad to start. My son was delighted to experience hot wings for the first time in his life. He has a new favorite. They were crispy and perfectly cooked and coated. The ranch dip was a great counterpoint to the spiciness. My Greek salad was basic, but very tasty and was a generous portion for a starter.
We ordered the House Special which was a "Red Sauce base pizza with Mozzarella, Pepperoni, Sausage, Ground Beef, Ham, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Mushrooms, Black Olives, Roma Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Onions and extra Cheese." (verbatim from their menu). The toppings were plentiful but balanced. The sauce was perfect and not overwhelming to the overall flavor. The crust...oh, the crust...a teff-based delight. Thin and crispy but also chewy. The slice folded without breaking and held the toppings well.
Our service was perfect. She kept our drinks topped off without asking, food was delivered quickly, and she was friendly and attentive without being intrusive.
I was a little concerned because the pizza was only 12" for the three of us, and we hadn't eaten all day, but with the appetizers, we could barely finish it. We drove the six-plus hours home with happy tummies and a desire to return soon.
If you check out their website, don't be alarmed by their gluten free menu. As a chain, they standardize their website across stores. The actual menu on-site has more options and tells you about the gluten free kitchen. It is a shame all the stores don't do what Asheville does, but it is one more reason to visit this most wonderful city.