Friday, September 6, 2013
Mellow Mushroom is bringing its hippie vibe to downtown McKinney
Expect the specialty pizza place to be open by early October.
MCKINNEY Downtown McKinney is about to get a lot mellower — with breakfast pizza and outdoor martinis.
"McKinney to me is like a feast for all of your senses — music, art, community and lots of good food — and that's what Mellow Mushroom is about," said Martha Jensen, co-owner of the new location. "It has so many fun things to look at, we play great music, and we have so much fun working here. It's a full-on experience to come to just like it's a full-on experience to come to McKinney, so it's just a perfect match."
The first Mellow Mushroom opened in 1974 in Atlanta, Georgia, and its oldest store in continuous operation opened four years later in nearby Emory, Georgia. The first franchise was started in 1982, and restaurants have since shroomed throughout the U.S.
Mellow Mushroom has franchises in Arlington, Frisco, Fort Worth, Denton and Southlake. The McKinney restaurant will sit just east of The Pantry and across the street from Doug and Lynda's Ski Shop, two downtown staples.
The property's owner, a friend of Jensen's, suggested the spot as prime location for a Mellow entrance. Already owner of two area Mellow Mushrooms, Jensen teamed with co-owner Luis Gonzalez, who also runs another Mellow location.
About a year ago, they decided to bring the signature franchise to the city's busiest destination. Downtown construction and a string of restaurants have only excited the square's newest occupants.
"If people don't find a place at one spot, they go to the next one," Gonzalez said of downtown visitors. "We'll create among all the businesses here a hopping atmosphere where they'll have a meal at one, a drink at another one, then hear a little music at the next one."
Jensen said the restaurant will add to the "energy of drawing people downtown."
And such vigor will likely radiate from Mellow Mushroom's walls. Artwork for the restaurant, to be installed in coming days, will feature bits of McKinney history. The restaurant has an accordion-like window front that will enable an inside-outside atmosphere for pleasant evenings.
"You'll basically be enjoying cocktails on the street," Jensen said, adding that every new Mellow Mushroom offers something different.
The restaurant will open Saturday and Sunday mornings to serve breakfast pizza, made with ingredients such as pancetta and eggs. The unique selection will be available all day — as will its munchies, calzones, hoagies, salads and specialty pizzas like "Kosmic Karma" and "Magical Mystery Tour."
Not surprisingly, the duo says their downtown welcome has been smooth and, well, somewhat mellow.
"They're just waiting for us to open," Gonzalez said. "I think it'll be great for this town."
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