Mellow Mushroom, an eclectic pizza chain known for their many gluten-free and vegan options, is a decent place to stop for a healthy lunch after a day of sightseeing and shopping in Blowing Rock.
It's also a great place for tourists with allergies as you can order gluten-free pizza and swap out regular cheese with vegan cheese. The prices are a bit over the top, however, it's an option if you are seeking a quick, healthy lunch option in Blowing Rock.
The menu consists of numerous specialty pizzas (Red Skin Potato Pie, Mega Veggie, Buffalo Chicken, and Thai Dye are a few of the unique options you will find), a build-your-own pizza option, salads, hoagies, calzones, appetizers, and a large beer menu, including many local options.
The create your own salad option is a great appetizer idea for gluten-free diners who can't enjoy the regular wheat-based appetizers like the Spinach Artichoke Dip, Hummus with Pita Points, and Bruschetta. You can customize your own by adding any vegetables, proteins, cheeses, and nuts as you like.
You have the option of creating your own pizza and choosing the sauce (red sauce, pesto, or olive oil and garlic), veggies, proteins, and cheese (dairy-free Daiya is available).
The Gluten-free pizza was just okay, not the best, nor the worst. They use an Ancient Grain based crust which is also vegan. The pizza was very overpriced (starting at $14 plus $2 per topping) for a tiny thin crust 12 inch size.
The crust was good and the sauce was good, although a bit dried out. Also, at $2 a piece, I expect the toppings to cover the pizza. They did however substitute one topping complimentary instead of the cheese, which was nice.
Be aware that gluten-free only comes in 12 inch size, which unfortunately is the norm in most restaurants. If you have a large party, it is going to cost you!
Service was friendly. Our waiter was able to explain gluten-free options and seemed to be well informed on different allergens.
The decor was pretty nice - bright, colorful, and clean. A cozy fireplace and bar added to the ambiance. There is lots of interesting decor to keep your eyes interested until your food arrives. Also, you'll find a nice bar with a few TVs for game days.
Overall Mellow Mushroom was a good, but not great dining experience, and definitively overpriced in terms of the gluten-free pizza. The regular pizza featured a thicker crust and was much more affordable. Be prepared to pay a premium for allergy friendly substitutions.
If you spend the day walking around Blowing Rock's charming downtown, you may want to stop by Mellow Mushroom as it is a convenient choice. Anyone with special dietary concerns will appreciate the menu offerings. However, I would not go out of my way to visit as there are better restaurants in the area.