|Marc Weinstein, Richard Brasch, Rocky Reeves, Mike Nicholson|
|Products||Stone-Baked Pizza, Craft Cocktails, Burgers, Salads, Calzones, Hoagies & Sandwiches, Craft and local Beer|
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers is an American pizza restaurant chain that was established in 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia as a single pizzeria. It operates as a franchise under the banner of Home Grown Industries, Inc. of Georgia, with over 200 locations throughout the United States. Its headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mellow Mushroom restaurants specialize in pizza, but they also serve calzones, hoagies, salads, appetizers, and a wide beer selection. They often feature a large selection of beer, typically 20-40 beers on draft and 50 or more bottled. Each store is locally owned and operated and decorated differently and sometimes there is a unifying theme to the artwork. Tie-dye and colorful mushrooms are a common theme for locations. Some restaurants occasionally feature live music, trivia competitions, karaoke, or bingo.
Mellow Mushroom opened in Atlanta, Georgia in 1974 when two college students from Georgia Tech, later joined by a third from the University of Georgia, founded a business that reflected their eccentric philosophies. The first restaurant was opened on Spring Street in Atlanta. In the late 1980s, the first franchise was opened by an employee, followed by customer-owned franchises, and then to friends of employees and customers. Each franchise is locally owned and operated with its own unique feel.
The first franchise to be located outside of Atlanta was in Athens, Georgia, near the University of Georgia. There are several dozen locations operating in Atlanta and elsewhere in Georgia. Beginning in 2000, the franchise expanded outside college markets to urban areas such as Jacksonville, Florida and Denver, Colorado. To date, the chain has over 200 locations across 20 states.
The visual identity of Mellow Mushroom Pizza was defined during their early franchising phase by Atlanta artist Buddy Finethy. Finethy created and refined the signature cast of animated characters that identified the chain.