An Early Look at Mellow Mushroom

Watch out, Jumbo Slice. There's a new neighborhood pizza place in Adams Morgan, and the food looks pretty tasty.

Atlanta-born Mellow Mushroom opens its first DC outpost in Adams Morgan. Photographs by Kyle Gustafson.

For better or worse, Adams Morgan’s go-to neighborhood pizza place has long been Jumbo Slice, but there’s a new contender for the title: Mellow Mushroom, an Atlanta-based chain of funky pizzerias that opened its first DC location last week. No, orders don’t come by the head-size slice (currently pizza is sold only by the pie, though individual pieces will be available for sale in the coming weeks), and you probably won’t have the same love-slash-hate relationship with the food-slash-yourself after visiting.  But with a full bar, rooftop deck, and menu packed with cheesy offerings, chances are it’ll become a frequent stop before, during, and after a stumble through the AdMo watering holes.

Murals of 1920s circus actors, colorful vinyl barstools, and a giant hanging of a trapeze artist set the mood for a menu with playful pizza offerings like the “Magical Mystery Tour” (pesto, mushrooms, feta, spinach, and jalapeños) and the barbecue “Funky Q.”—chicken plus caramelized onions, cheddar, and smoked bacon. Fourteen specialty pies and more than 50 toppings, sauces, and cheeses for custom pies could make ordering difficult, but vegans and gluten eschewers will have an easy time finding something to eat among all the options. Add to that “munchies” like meatballs and stuffed mushroom caps, entrée salads, and a long list of hoagies that includes Philly-style steak ‘n’ cheese and grilled Italian sausage and peppers. Among the beverage options: 24 drafts and build-your-own mojitos from a collection of Cruzan rums.

Sipping craft brews on the rooftop deck may seem like crazy talk right about now (even with the heat lamps in full force), but the 174-seat space will be an excellent outdoor-dining option in warmer days. And future plans include sidewalk patio seating, limited daytime delivery, and (possibly) a progressive reverse happy hour that starts later in the evening; drinks get cheaper as the evening wears on. Also: a limited late-night menu, though Mellow reps claim the goal is less 3-AM-post-bar stop and more casual neighborhood restaurant. For the former, there’s always the little place with the giant slices down the street.

Mellow Mushroom. 2436 18th Street, NW; 202-290-2778.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.