Pizza is often too cheesy, meaty, and oily for a plant-based lifestyle. But Mellow Mushroom is solving this First-World problem with out-of-this-world vegan pizza. The chain, which has a wildly enthusiastic cult following, offers a host of vegan-friendly options, from pies to calzones to sandwiches.
Best of all, there's the make-your-own pizza option, so plant eaters can pile their dough high with Daiya cheese, veggies, fruits, and even tempeh and tofu.
South Miami's new Mellow Mushroom is the chain's first foray into Miami-Dade County. The company has dozens of locations across the Southeast and is rapidly expanding its reach westward. Despite the geography, however, they're all about the local love.
"We believe in locals," manager Moises Rodriguez says of the new spot on Sunset Drive. "The produce is local, the bread guy is local, the designers, everything."
Nationally, the chain recently rolled out a special menu highlighting some of the many vegans options. It includes items like pretzels with no butter or Parmesan, hummus with veggies, a Greek salad with no feta, a mega-veggie pizza with no feta, and a tempeh hoagie.
While all the options on the special menu are available at the South Miami location (but there are no printed copies — diners need to look up the menu online), there are also plenty of nonmeat items on the regular menu. Many of the standard pizzas and entrées can be made vegan, and the friendly staffers are more than happy to accommodate.
The popular Holy Shiitake pie, for example, has this standard menu description: "Olive oil and garlic base; shiitake, button, and portobello mushrooms; caramelized onions; mozzarella and MontAmoré cheeses. Drizzled with garlic aioli and black truffle oil. Garnished with fresh chives and shaved Parmesan."
To make it vegan, customers need only ask to leave off the butter, Parmesan, mozzarella, MontAmoré, and aioli. Then add Daiya. Voila: a mushroom masterpiece. The result is nearly indistinguishable from its regular counterpart — a pie any pizzeria (vegan or otherwise) could be proud of.
In addition, vegans can build customizable pizza creations. After asking the server to leave butter and Parmesan off the crust, diners can go nuts with toppings like artichoke hearts, banana peppers, pineapple, portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and all kinds of other fruits and veggies, plus tofu and tempeh. Pizzas start at $7.99 for a small, $11.99 for a medium, and $14.99 for a large. Adding Daiya cheese runs $1.49 on a small pizza, $2.49 on a medium, and $3.29 on a large, and each fruit or veggie added is $1.29 each for a small, $1.79 for a medium, and $2.29 for a large.
Custom creation is also an option when it comes to salads and calzones, so there are almost endless combinations.
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All in all, the menu offers a smorgasbord of customizable options for vegans. Add the fact that the chain's crust is impossibly chewy and flavorful, and it's no surprise Mellow Mushroom has a fan base that rivals Beyoncé's.
Mellow Mushroom is located at 5701 Sunset Dr., South Miami. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Visit mellowmushroom.com.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @latestvegannews.