Mellow Mushroom in Coke Plant opens to pizza, art lovers

By Sydni Anderson, Staff writer

A famous Georgia-based pizza franchise set up shop in Paducah, Kentucky, and opened its doors to the public last Monday morning.

Ed Musselman, owner of the Paducah Mellow Mushroom, said the business has had a busy beginning.

“I’ve been working 20 hour days for the past week,” Musselman said.

Musselman not only owns the restaurant, but the building it resides in. Mellow Mushroom exists in one of Paducah’s historic landmarks: a Coke Plant built in 1939 by an early Coca-Cola bottler. Mellow Mushroom is the third business to live in the plant, following Dry Ground Brewing Company and Pipers Tea and Coffee which are still open in the building.

Mellow Mushroom brings two things to the plant: pizza and art.

Like all other Mellow Mushrooms across the country, art is a staple theme in the Paducah establishment.

Amy Senn is a Mellow Mushroom art director collaborating with Musselman to bring artwork to his restaurant. Senn said the Paducah establishment will feature the work of over 20 local artists, compared to the typical five to seven she usually works with.

Paducah artist Rob Estes of Brushstroke Signs painted the Mellow Mushroom’s signature mural in a rainbow of colors, featuring the words “Enjoy Paducah” and an effigy of Luther F. Carson, the man who opened the Coke plant in the early 20th century.

According to The Coke Plant’s Facebook page, the bar top at Mellow Mushroom was handcrafted by Paducah craftsman Marty Steve out of 100-year-old red gum beams that were salvaged from a demolition at 5th and Broadway.

The restaurant incorporates a hexagon-shaped bar with televisions for sports fans and booths with matching hexagonal tables encircling it. There is also a retro Mellow Mushroom and Coca-Cola sign suspended from the ceiling.

Every piece of artwork comes from Paducah artists and features a gallery tag.

Piper Cassetto, freshman from Louisville, Kentucky, has been to two Mellow Mushroom locations in her home town. Cassetto said she’s been spoiled with pizza choices.

“The atmosphere [of Mellow Mushroom] is really awesome. It’s a fun place to go with friends, but don’t expect life-changing food,” Cassetto said.

Overall, she rated the franchise two-and-a-half pizzas out of five.

Although Mellow Mushroom’s mission is to “serve a deliciously unparalleled pizza and a cold craft beer in an unforgettable environment,” whether they succeed or not is up to the customer.

The restaurant not only serves pizza, but salads, sandwiches and burgers as well.  Gluten-Free options are also available on the menu.

Paducah’s Mellow Mushroom is open 10:30 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and closes at 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday. Street side parking is available down Buckner, Jefferson and Broadway as well as behind Dry Ground Brewing Company and in the back lot of Independence Bank.