Welcome to Polk Eats! For our first post here, my wife and I recently had lunch at Mellow Mushroom on Lakeland Highlands Road in Lakeland. It was our first visit. Mellow Mushroom is a franchise chain, with the majority of its locations in the southeastern U.S. They specialize in pizza, calzones and hoagies, but have recently added a half-pound burger to the menu.
We tend to eat a little earlier than most when we go out to eat – restaurants are less crowded, which means we generally get a quieter meal and more attentive service. We were very happy with our server at Mellow Mushroom, friendly and enthusiastic without being too chatty. Because the pizzas are made to order, he told us they generally take a minimum of 15 minutes (seems perfectly reasonable) but that on a Friday night one might easily wait half an hour or longer, so appetizers are worth considering if you go there at a busy time.
Mellow Mushroom has a variety of specialty pizzas on its menu but you can also “build your own” and select from a generous assortment of toppings. We both ordered small pizzas; a small is four good-sized slices that made for a hearty lunch with a slice or two to take home. I ordered a red-sauce base with sun-dried tomatoes and meatballs. My wife ordered a pesto base with Parmesan, carmelized onions, mushrooms, and Italian sausage. Iced tea and diet Coke for drinks.
Wow! This was some of the best pizza we had enjoyed in a long time. Hearty, delicious crust, the sauce was tasty and not overpowering, perfectly cooked. It wasn’t cheap – our total bill came to almost $33. But this was some amazing pizza with friendly service. My only complaint about the restaurant is the noise level – they were broadcasting what sounded like a TV or radio station at the volume of an outdoor PA system. I’m more sensitive to restaurant noise than most, so for most people I doubt this will be a problem.
If you grok pizza (bonus points if you know the reference), you’ll have a hard time going wrong with Mellow Mushroom.
If we’ve inspired you to try Mellow Mushroom, or you’ve been there yourself and want to share your experience, please comment below. And if you have Polk County restaurant tips, we’d love to hear them via our Contact Us page. Thanks for visiting and happy eating!