Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mellow Mushroom Pizza

Update... And thanks to the commenters for getting me to follow up on this. I just got what I think is a definitive answer from the Mellow Mushroom and their soy cheese does indeed contain casein, which makes it not 100% vegan. If that bothers you their veggie pizza would still be good without the cheese and they do have tempeh & tofu sandwiches that you can get sans cheese.


There's something about vegan pizza isn't there? For local options we've written about Christian's and Dr. Ho's, and now we have another - and perhaps better - option: Mellow Mushroom. This is a medium-sized chain with locations throughout the Southeast and we recently read that the Charlottesville location was starting to offer soy cheese as an option on their pizzas and sandwiches. Ah, but some of you more in-the-know vegans may wonder about that whole casein thing. Well we've asked at the 'shroom on two separate occasions and they say their soy cheese is vegan (but it's not). They generally put butter and parmesan on their crust too but they can easily leave it off if you ask.

So last night we went there and got the Mega Veggie pie and boy was it good. And in what appeared to be some good vegan-friendlyness, another veggie pizza with a pesto base was accidentally added to our order somehow and someone came out of the kitchen to let us know that the pesto had cheese in it. Of course we hadn't ordered that option and the order was quickly straightened out but we thought it was interesting that they took the time to inform us of that fact. At any rate, the pizza we did get was piled high with a huge amount of veggies - the standard onions, peppers, mushrooms & olives, plus broccoli, spinach, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, banana peppers and tofu (I know that's not a veggie). There was just enough soy cheese on there to keep all that stuff from falling off and the cheese was pretty melty. Plus the Mellow Mushroom has at least 20 different kinds of beers on tap - if you're into that sort of thing. I think this place could become a habit. Here's a pic of one of the leftover slices we brought home.

12 comments:

NashVeggie said...

Not sure about your location, but if it is very nice inside with table-side service and silverware/glasses on the table then you're not getting the full Mellow Mushrooom experience. MMs in Atlanta are dives, and they rock. Go to the counter to order, go to the counter to pick-up your order and a jukebox and wooden booths. The atmosphere fits the image of what a MM is and the food is much better than Nashville, again I don't know what you have there. Note on the cheese, I asked a person working at one of the Atlanta MMs as well as one in Nashville about the soy cheese and they both being vegan as well said it did in fact contain casein. Now that's not to say they don't use different cheese suppliers at different locations. The person at the Nashville location brought the package out for me to see the ingredients and pointed it out. She said she had tried to get them to find a vegan supply but without luck.

That One Guy said...

Man I really hate to poop your party. I was SO stoked when you posted this that I had to see if my local one had a similar deal, we have a tiny local joint that does have vegan cheese and some vegan toppings, but especially the tempeh looked appealing on the MM menu. SO, anyway, I contacted corporate and got a very friendly response back, but the news is thus far not good, sorry :-(

"Mellow Mushroom has been testing several types of soy cheese. We have not yet been able to find one that is completely vegan, and suitable for our pizza. If you have any suggestions of a cheese that would work for us, I welcome your input, and would be glad to pass it along to our operations department for testing.

Unfortunatly, you have received some information about our North Carolina stores that is not correct. All of our stores are getting their soy cheese from the same source and there is a trace amount of casin in all of it. We do not currently own any restaurants in Charlotte, NC. Though there were once Mellow Mushrooms there, they have all closed.

Thank you for taking time to write and help us improve our restaurant.

Paul Canderozzi
General Manager
Mellow Mushroom Austin"

Anonymous said...

We just got a vegan place here (Cleveland) and they laughed at me (in a friendly way) because I kept asking so many questions about their vegan pizza; they also have vegan breadsticks that are amazing. Finally the guy said "Let me tell you what we use" and proceeded to name Earth Balance, FYH cheese, and even vegan sugar for the dough. It's so nice that these places are popping up. My mom is sure she is going to die soon as she never thought she would live long enough for "vegan" to be such a commonplace term.

Don't Get Mad Get Vegan! said...

The mellow Mushroom in Charlottesville was the first one I went to. It was great to sit outside and I had the tempeh sub sans cheese. It was reeeeally tasty just as it was with onions, shrooms, avocado and some seasonings.

Chris said...

Well perhaps this isn't such a score after all. I suppose to be 100% sure you can get your pizza or sandwich without cheese. I'll try to follow up and report back.

carrie said...

Even if the cheese wasn't completely vegan, it's a step in the right direction I'd say. Who ever thought we'd see the day when pizza joints were using soy cheese?? I know I didn't. Unfortunately, I live in the land of meat and potatoes and it'll be quite awhile before any place around here starts carrying soy cheese, casein free or not. I have to settle for cheeselss pizza, or good old homemade!!

BTW, I've been lurking at your blog for quite some time now, I really enjoy it.

missblueberry said...

There IS something about vegan pizza! When I was in Canada there were a couple of great places for pizza (Papa Cio on Spadina and Harbord and Il Fiasco on Locke in Hamilton)...here in Brussels we have found a place that does the BEST vegan pizza...La Pizzeria...so good. Yummmmy! Here's to pizza!

Chris said...

Turns out you're right that one guy. I just posted an update.

That One Guy said...

Bummer. I'm sorry, I hated to pass on the news and can never decide whether tis best to just let the dogs who slumber remain at rest, but something in me said it was preferred to pass on the info in this case. I am glad you turned me on to them though, I never would have tried them, they just recently came in to our town and our response was, jeez did we really need ANOTHER pizza joint. I can't wait to try this tempeh sub now though, so seriously, thanks for the info, sorry I ended up finding out more than maybe we really wanted to know...

Bianca said...

I love Mellow Mushroom! I tried the Tempeh Hoagie (sans cheese) for the first time in Nashville a couple weeks ago. yum! I have yet to try the pizza, but I can't wait to order a cheese-less tofu pie. Thanks for the tip about butter and parm though.

Anonymous said...

There's a franchise location in Florida that uses dairy-free (and casein-free) Daiya cheese. Hurray!!
Maybe you can suggest this option to your local Mellow Mushroom :)

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure all Mellow Mushroom locations serve the Daiya cheese now. You can call up in advance just to make sure.