Mellow Mushroom's Kaleidoscope Pies

The pizza is worth the wait and the craft beer is not bad either.

Take a trip through Mellow Mushroom's colorful kitchen and dining room in this week's slideshow.

Mellow Mushroom's neon sign is one of the largest I've seen outside of the Las Vegas strip, screaming bright carnival colors into the night and illuminating two mushroom-shaped cartoon characters that look like relics from a long-forgotten children's show from the 1970s. On the sign, the two mushroom men lean languidly back into a patch of other, non-anthropomorphized mushrooms. One holds a piece of pizza aloft, this gesture the sign's only real connection to the food that lies within the restaurant below.

That's the way it is with Mellow Mushroom, though. One wouldn't expect to find any of the components that make Mellow Mushroom great — its huge selection of craft beer; its sturdy pies; its impressive selection of vegetarian and gluten-free items; walls decorated with murals, paintings and mixed-media installations by local artists — in this unremarkable strip mall just north of FM 1960. One thing that the neon sign does indicate, however, is the laid-back attitude adopted by most of its staff, for better or for worse.

The Thai Dye pie with curry chicken is only one of the colorful, creative pizzas on the menu.
Troy Fields
The Thai Dye pie with curry chicken is only one of the colorful, creative pizzas on the menu.

Location Info


Mellow Mushroom

16000 Stuebner Airline Road
Spring, TX 77379

Category: Restaurant > Pizza

Region: Outside Houston


Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays
Half-order pretzels: $4.95
"Magic Mushroom" soup: $5.25
Small Thai Dye pizza: $12.75
Small Red Skin Potato Pie pizza: $12.99
Small Buffalo Chicken pizza: $13.25
Small Bayou Bleu pizza: $14.99

SLIDESHOW: Mellow Mushroom Brings Pizza and Craft Beer to Spring
BLOG POST: Mellow Mushroom: The Best Bar in Spring (Also Offers Pizza)

"I've been here five times," my dining companion chuckled during my second visit, "and I've yet to see an adult working here." Our meal that afternoon had been delayed long enough for him to catch the end of a riveting game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle ­Seahawks — so he was happy — but I was annoyed that a meal of pizza had stretched to an interminable two and a half hours thanks to a comedy of errors: unavailable beers, kitchen screw-ups, general malaise and more.

To her credit, the waitress warned us when we sat down around 2 p.m. that our pizzas would take at least 45 minutes. "We just had a rush of people," she explained, nodding toward the half-empty restaurant in a confusing gesture. Nearly an hour later, the first of our pizzas arrived. Followed shortly by one of our appetizers — an order of pretzels and beer cheese that was short a pretzel — and the other pizza.

"The kitchen dropped one of the pretzels," our waitress laughed. "We'll get you a new one." Hey, at least you know that Mellow Mushroom makes the pretzels fresh. It turned out, she said, that our entire order was accidentally given to "the gluten-free guy" (which actually serves to show you how seriously Mellow Mushroom takes the separation of gluten-free pizzas in its massive, open kitchen), which is why only one of the appetizers — a very tasty "Magic Mushroom" soup with nubbins of shiitake and Portbello mushrooms bobbing in a white wine and Italian herb broth — had shown up within a reasonable amount of time.

Now it's entirely possible that my mind was clouded with hunger by the time my gluten-free pizza arrived, but the crust that formed the foundation of my Gourmet White was surprisingly great. It was thin and almost cracker-like at the edges but with a heft and sturdiness that supported the weight of the toppings easily. It doesn't have much flavor in and of itself, but it doesn't interfere with the ingredients that cover the top.

Although I'd only set out to taste the gluten-free crust purely for the sake of reporting back on what I'd expected to be a disappointing texture and consistency, I was shocked to find myself enjoying the wheatless crust even more than my previous pizzas at Mellow Mushroom.

I took half the gluten-free pizza home along with two other small regular pies we'd ordered for the road to test out a few factors: how well the pizzas traveled and how well they reheated. I'm pleased to say that all three pizzas stood up to the battery of tests in admirable shape. I'd even go so far as to say they're better when reheated the next day — especially the regular crust, which can be a little too thick, doughy and soft for my own tastes when it first comes out. (I prefer a crisper crust, which reheating in the oven definitely provides.) That way, you don't have to deal with slow service and a dining room that can occasionally be painfully noisy. But if you do take your pizzas to go, you'll miss out on some of Mellow Mushroom's more charming aspects.

Namely, the beer and art that make each Mellow Mushroom different, including this one — the first in the Houston area, which opened a few months ago. The pizza chain is based in Georgia but has some interesting rules in place to ensure that its restaurants across the country are as unique as the cities in which they're opened. As a franchisee, you're allowed to own and run only one Mellow Mushroom. And that Mellow Mushroom is going to be stuffed to the gills with beers from local brewers — Saint Arnold, Karbach, No Label and more, in our case — and art from local artists.

Alongside the tattooed, pierced and dyed servers, you'll find pieces from graffiti artist Weah, whose huge murals decorate most of the open wall space; a series of seven giant baseball card-style portraits by Katharine Kearns; and a massive metal sculpture in the shape of a submarine that's suspended from the main dining room's ceiling courtesy of Mark David Bradford, a.k.a. Scrapdaddy. The servers aren't the only part of Mellow Mushroom who would feel more at home in Montrose than in Spring; once inside, you'll quickly forget that you're in the suburbs. In fact, this may be the only spot to house a Weah piece outside the Loop.

Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help

My first experience with Mellow Mushroom was in Atlanta followed by Baton Rouge.  When I visited the Houston branch I was somewhat disappointed.  First off, it was dimly lit and they were going for that industrial look, unlike Atlanta and BR.  Second, although they made a decent attempt at a well rounded craft beer list, it lacked any premium pilsners (i.e. Live Oak, Karbach or even PU in the bottle ) which is my go to when I am having pizza.  The one beer they did have that might have worked (Franconia Dunkel) was poorly kept,  I suppose because of lack of turnover.  The pie was above average.  Would I go back...maybe...but not anytime soon.


Sounds interesting, but the idea of bad service is pretty daunting to overcome (even if the only problem described is speed).

Josh French
Josh French

They must be, or they would have never been mentioned.

Ian T. Komouss
Ian T. Komouss

Is The Mellow Mushroom advertising in the HP now?


Is it just me, or are people not making any sense today?  ^^^

gossamersixteen topcommenter

OCP is a dump, like being in some creepy old man's house -- my friends like the trivia but I won't step foot in that dirty dive again (they put the far preferable Ashbury's out of business in the early 2000's). I'm from Klein and you won't catch me going back for good pizza or otherwise, besides FM1960 is a din of crime these days sure isn't the same place I grew up in in the 80's and 90's people getting shot for a pair of nike's, carjackings at walmart, SWAT standoffs etc. Seems like the inner city relocated out there as a result of gentrification.

kshilcutt moderator editor

@gossamersixteen What does the din of crime sound like? I imagine it to be vaguely similar to the noises that drifted up to my apartment when I lived above the Greyhound bus station.