I am usually an not advocate of visiting chain restaurants when on vacation. With or without kids, I love trying new (to us) local spots that feature what the area is known for.
We also generally follow this rule in our own community. We have so many amazing restaurants along the Emerald Coast and I’d much rather give our business to them than big box chains.
That being said, one of our favorite family spots in town is Mellow Mushroom. Destin has a few decent local pizza joints, but Mellow Mushroom is a place that our entire family agrees on. It’s one of the few chains we’ll make an exception for (if I were vacationing somewhere else I would definitely seek out local pizza in lieu of Mellow, but while we’re at home it’s just fine by us).
We take the kids to Mellow every few months. I think the real reason Julia requests it is for the ice cream shop next door.
It doesn’t get more family-freidnly than this place. The colors are bright and the restaurant is pretty loud. The kids are captivated by the huge, colorful mushrooms and umbrellas that adorn the place. Julia and Mac usually request to walk around the restaurant and see all the decorations up close. This is a perfect way to pass the time while waiting for our pizza to bake.
The kids are given crayons and paper as soon as your are seated. I know this is a common practice, but this mom is appreciative! Anything to keep my kids occupied is just fine by me.
As with most Mellow locations, ours offers a few local specialties.
On our most recent visit with started with the Cheese Bread. It’s nothing fancy, but is delicious buttery garlic bread topped with Italian seasoning, melted mozzarella, and marinara for dipping.
The kids’ menu is impressive enough. My kids usually split the french bread pizza with fresh apple slices. And at $5 (including a drink), the price is right.
Jason and I LOVE the spinach salad and get it nearly every time we visit. It’s a mound of fresh spinach topped with crisp apple slices, toasted pecans, dried cherries, and feta cheese. Order with the creamy balsamic dressing and thank me later.
I ordered Greek Salad with Chicken as my entree so we skipped the spinach this time around.
I love a big salad, but nothing annoys me more than too little “stuff” on top. I want mine loaded with veggies and this Greek salad doesn’t disappoint. It’s full of fresh greens, cucumbers, bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, banana peppers, kalamata olives, pepperoncini, an grilled chicken. I don’t do raw onions so I ordered without. I couldn’t finish but half of this bad boy!
Jason loves calzones as much or more than traditional pizza and often orders them. He ordered a simple pepperoni calzone with a side of marinara for dipping.
This thing was huge! The dough that the pizzas and calzones are made of is just dreamy. Perfectly chewy and dense. Jason did all the damage he could on the calzone and the rest of us all got a few bites, as well.
As usual, we had a great meal at Mellow Mushroom. It’s nothing innovative or life-changing. Just good quality pizza and other grub, decent service, a great beer selection, and a safe place for kids to be kids.
What more does one need?
*Here’s a tip! Mellow Mushroom will sell you fresh dough balls to take home. We love making our own pizzas and using their amazing dough makes it even more fun!*
960 US Highway 98 #112
Destin, FL 32541