Mellow Mushroom - Getting Creative to Support the Community

Mellow Mushroom in Sunset Hills keeps the good vibes rolling by supporting its community and its customers. In return, it's gained a loyal following and a great reputation.

New to St. Louis in 2016, Mellow Mushroom has upheld their mission “to provide delicious food in a fun and creative environment.” Its fresh, stone-baked pizzas quickly became a St. Louis favorite, along with its cold beer, craft cocktails, and vibrant atmosphere. However, when Covid-19 hit, it had to get extra creative to survive.

Chris Deatherage, General Manager of Mellow Mushroom Sunset Hills, describes how Mellow Mushroom maximized the pizza industry’s strong takeout reputation, while ensuring the safety of on-site dining.

“We were lucky enough that when people think of to-go food they think of pizza right off the bat.”

Even so, Mellow Mushroom took great strides to meet the needs of their customers, many of whom switched from dine-in to take out at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We added a lot more curbside takeout, special parking spots, a texting app for when people are picking up curbside, and an online ordering system. For dining-in, we do the normal 6 feet apart, sanitizing tables every time, menus every time, sanitizing all the doorknobs every few minutes, and we actually purchased our own ‘fogger’ to sanitize the restaurant every day or two.”

It was an investment that paid off. These measures created a welcoming environment for guests. Due to Mellow Mushroom’s effort to make its customers feel supported, many customers returned the favor.

"We have a really great following, so they help us a ton. A lot of our regulars would come in and really take care of our employees. We didn’t have to lay anyone off during that time and kept everyone employed. And our customers were really generous with tipping the staff.”

Supporting the community is important to Mellow Mushroom’s brand. Mellow Mushroom joined the GiftAMeal program to help the food insecure in the St. Louis metro area, and they were able to make an impact immediately, simply by customers taking pizza pics.

“GiftAMeal's great! We absolutely love it 100% and love giving back to the community. We have signs everywhere for it and try to tell everyone to do it. It’s so great because people can do it at their own leisure. That’s one of the best parts. It’s not one of those things where I have to say, ‘Hey now click here and then here'. It’s very self-explanatory, just, ‘Hey download the app and take a picture to give back’ and then they get hooked on it.”

Already over 600 meals have been provided to those in need locally due to photos taken on GiftAMeal by Mellow Mushroom customers.

Their hard work throughout the pandemic paid off. Deatherage can see a clear light at the end of the tunnel.

“Now that it’s getting nice again, people are coming out. People are feeling safer now with the vaccine. There’s been another transition and takeout is still a big part of our business