Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meager Mushroom

November 22 update: I got an email from one of Mellow Mushroom's co-owners, and she was incredibly kind and gracious and wanted to make it up to us. We will be going back to try their pizza, and I will report back.


I don't know if you've tried the new pizza place the Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan?

I was excited to try it. Until we did. And I'll never get pizza from there again.

We've been eating really well, but last Friday we all decided was a pizza night.

So I called Mellow Mushroom, which I'd heard good things about, and ordered a large pizza with gluten-free crust, tomato sauce, two kinds of cheese, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and Italian sausage.

(We were splurging, health-wise, on pizza for dinner, but being a little virtuous with the gluten-free. Plus we used to go to Rustico and have amazing gluten-free pizza. So that was my frame of reference. I miss Rustico.)

Nick and I walked over to pick it up. It was $27. He plunked down his credit card.

And then they handed me the box.

It was so light and small, I was sure they'd given us the wrong order. "This is your large?"

"Oh, no. There's only one size in gluten-free. They should've told you that."


And then we got home, and opened the box. There was a suggestion of sauce, a hint of cheeses, a giggle of sausage, perhaps three to five sun-dried tomatoes, and a pirouette of peppers on it.

In other words, a very thin, tasteless crust with the pretense of a number of delicious-sounding toppings.

For $27.

I wanted Nick to go back and complain, because he is good at that sort of thing and I am not, but it was Friday and he was tired, and he said fuck it and ordered a white pizza from Astor instead.

It was about half the price and fucking delicious.

And now I think it's just too late. You can go back later in the evening or the next day, but you can't really show up a week later and say that your pizza is really fucking expensive and skimpy and tasteless.

Or can you? Because candidly, it still pisses me off. I don't know why it's stuck with me, but it has.

Or should I just remind myself to breathe and there are children starving all over the world and one overpriced crappy pizza is nothing to be worked up about?


  1. Don't mess with a pregnant woman's food. That's pretty much what it comes down to. I'd be pissed too!

  2. You just made me laugh. That is EXACTLY what is comes down to! I knew what I wanted to eat and THIS WAS NOT IT!!!

  3. Man, that's not cool. I hate it when new shiny places disappoint. The Dominos pizza commercials are airing customer feedback from months, years ago - I say voice your complaint.

    In my neighborhood there's a pizza place on the corner with delicious but pricey pizza - $24 for a medium, no small offered. Their pizza puts the other options to shame, so I've started buying their dough for $5, toppings from the grocer and baking at home. It's the next best thing.

  4. i'd write a letter. it can't hurt (usually ends up in a GC mailed to you - which you could hand off to someone else or try again) and at least then you're likely to be heard by someone in charge and not just get head nods from the chump working the cash register that night.

  5. That is outrageous. Mellow Mushroom is big in Atlanta and I always got good pizza from there, but that is just ridiculous. You should definitely complain.

  6. I'm terrible at complaining too, but now that I'm 40, I'm slowly learning to speak my mind. Sock it to 'em, I say.

  7. Whoa, I love the Mellow Mushroom (in Denver albeit) - really good pizza, great beers on tap, great for wee one and not all corporate. In fact I had no idea it was a chain until your blog (especially since a local artist painted the gigantic mural in the restaurant). That being said, the best way to complain these days, especially about restaurants, is on Yelp. Write a review that is thoughtful and well written and you will be doing a valuable service for your fellow yelpers (which is most people it seems). And give them a second chance, 'cause it sounds like you were there on an off night.

  8. Don't mess with pizza, man. It's sacred. And add to that your pregnancy and very real need for real food, not sprinkles of flavor?

    Bad Mellow Mushroom.

  9. HK - I am not a Dominos person, but I would have preferred it!

    There's a place a bit north of us that has such good pizza, and sells dough and I think sauce...we should do that sometime! Smart!

    jen - I never, ever do that, but it's a very good idea. My dad was a big letter writer and it always got results.

    Wendy - I had heard really good things and I was totally excited about it. So disappointed! I/we will, for sure.

    Dana - Nick is just great at it. He doesn't get emotional, and he has no compunctions about being very candid about things.

    Dan - That's a very constructive suggestion. I will do that.

    You know, as we were waiting I was looking around and it totally seems like somewhere I'd like to hang out. I'd have been happy having a couple beers at the bar. Plus, it's so convenient. It was going to be the new go-to pizza place!

    Stevie - Yes! I needed FOOD! Not just the suggestion of it! Grr.

  10. i hope you don't mind, but i forwarded your post to my friend who is a manager there. i'm sorry you were unhappy with your pizza and experience, and as someone in the restaurant business, i highly recommend speaking to someone at the time of the incident. waiting until later, while it does provide time for clarity if it's a volatile situation, prevents immediate resolution of the issue and provides the opportunity for both parties to win.

  11. That sucks. I've always loved Mellow Mushroom (and had it in multiple locations). I can't speak to the gluten-free pizza, but man, I'd be ticked too! Their pretzels are delish though if you ever do go back.

  12. I agree that you can't really go back to complain at a late date, but I totally get why it's still bugging you. I lost about $20 on a prepaid phone card about years ago when the provider went bankrupt. I was spending 25 cents a minute to talk to D during our long distance relationship while he lived in the Cayman Islands. That $20 is really no big thing, but nearly a decade later it still steams me.

  13. What? $27 for a pizza? And then it turned out like that? I'd at least call and tell them they've lost a customer - and why. Although, that would be doing them a favor - and they don't deserve it. But you'd get it off your chest. $27, wtf!

  14. We have MM here in FL and their gluten free pizza is terrible. But their regular pizza is good and not as expensive!

  15. Aimee - I really appreciate your perspective and constructive input. I never complain about food in restaurants. I don't think I've ever sent anything back. But you've made me realize that actually, there could be a dialogue and it could be a positive experience on both sides, even if it's a negative situation.

    Megan - My stylist had just told me how great it was that morning, and I'd read about how popular they are in other cities.

    Keenie Beanie - Yes! You completely understand. I've certainly wasted $30 on other unsatisfactory meals or pointless things that I've not thought twice about afterwards...but this one just pissed me off.

    Kate - I know! If I'm going to spent $27 on Pizza, I'd at least like to be doing so in Rome. :)

    Tara - I should've given thought to the fact that good gluten free is hard. But Rustico's was so good, and MM has such a great reputation!

  16. There is something wrong with any pizza costing over $20, unless it is one of those novelty giant pizzas that can feed a town.

  17. Sorry to be anonymous here but was there any response from Aimee's friend the manager? No excuse for a $30 pizza that isn't a real pizza.


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