Keeping Things Mellow for 50 Years

Mellow Mushroom, the stone-baked pizza brand with a counter-culture essence, is celebrating its golden anniversary.

Founded in Atlanta on pizza and beer by a trio of friends who had recently graduated college, the brand currently operates more than 160 locations and is still privately held by one of the original founders. 

The national campaign will have unique local takes as each individual restaurant is uniquely reflective of its local community while holding true to Mellow Mushroom’s core values and brand.

“With each new store, it’s like a new chapter in the Mellow story,” Anne Mejia, Senior VP Brand Development at Mellow Mushroom, told Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine. “We completed a rebrand in November 2023 to solidify brand identity and jumpstart us into the next half-century. We’ve now reached the 50th milestone which was no small feat. As we look back at our growth throughout the last 50 years, this restaurant will work in large part to consider system-wide initiatives and modernizations to come in the next 50 years.”

The brand is also introducing a new concept that is a twist on the dine-in Mellow Mushroom experience that offers counter-service and a unique menu. It opens later this year along the expanding Beltline in Atlanta’s Grant Park area. 

The festivities will include:

  • limited-time-only anniversary menu featuring a mix of returning fan-favorites and brand-new menu items including an official 50th anniversary cocktail – alongside a 50th-inspired happy hour experience set to pop up at locations across the country;
  • newly minted packaging, three new menu cover art designs, three new pizza box designs, newly branded cups and to-go packaging; and
  •  an exclusive 50th themed Mellow Merch Shop merchandise and a national ad campaign.


Mellow Mushroom blends the boundaries between art, music while holding true to a counterculture vibe that was there at the start.

We pride ourselves on this uniqueness in more ways than one – we’ve always stayed true to a come-as-you-are attitude with guests.

“The counterculture approach wasn’t the goal, it was simply about the pizza,” said Mejia. “By the same token, it was naturally brought on. It was three young entrepreneurs that wanted to do things their own way. They didn’t follow traditional pizza rules or standards and created a uniquely Mellow recipe unlike any other. Circling back on the come-as-you-are attitude focused on the Mellow experience, they simply valued the idea of bringing people together through the casual combination of art, pizza, and beer – no white tablecloths involved – which was in turn perceived as a counterculture approach.” 

While that counterculture approach was not mainstream 50 years ago, with marijuana being legalized in more states over the past decade, the brand does acknowledge the connection and has fun with it. 

“We don’t consider the 4/20 ties to be a core theme or foundation of the brand, but we certainly recognize the connection,” said Mejia. “Mellow started in the psychedelic 70s by three 20-somethings – it’s always been a natural attribution. More recently as we’ve grown the franchise and developed a solid marketing department, we take advantage of the characteristic, though often subliminally (i.e., our starters are coined ‘Munchies’, our pizzas are stone-baked) and/or on a case-by-case basis (i.e., leaning more into it with younger audiences on Instagram or TikTok vs older audiences on Facebook and in email marketing; taking advantage of the 4/20 “holiday” with tied-in promotions)."

First ever Mellow Mushroom menu

Mejia credits the brand’s staying power to its two-tiered foundation of quality and uniqueness. 

“One thing that hasn’t and will never change is Mellow Mushroom’s unwavering commitment to quality. Each time a guest visits a Mellow Mushroom, they can expect carefully curated, delicious pizza made with fresh ingredients paired with craft cocktails and beers, Munchies, and more.”

Mejia noted that because no two Mellow Mushroom restaurants are the same, that makes any visit to a never-before-visited Mellow a brand-new experience of art with the immersion of the Mellow vibe.

“We pride ourselves on this uniqueness in more ways than one – we’ve always stayed true to a come-as-you-are attitude with guests. It’s always been really important to us to allow a welcoming environment focused on providing a quality dining experience to guests. The same goes for our Shroom Crew – Great service is reflective of the safe, welcoming job. In sum, it’s our immersive, open-armed experience tied to unwavering quality that guests come to enjoy time and time again.”