Mellow Mushroom brings exciting atmosphere to BG

Ulysses senior Katelyn Webb, center, waits for food with friends at Mellow Mushroom Sunday night. The restaurant, which serves pizzas, calzones and hoagies, opened in downtown Bowling Green March 26.

Natalie Hayden

Bob Holderfield had no experience in running a restaurant.

The Bowling Green native has worked in wholesale battery distribution for more than 30 years, but that didn’t stop him from opening a restaurant on March 26.

“My son works at the Mellow Mushroom in Lexington — he’s a student at UK — and we were just visiting there and I was looking at the menu and just thinking the whole time that this would work great in Bowling Green,” Holderfield said.

The Mellow Mushroom is a franchise that prides itself on the uniqueness of each individual restaurant. According to its website, “the pizza tastes good everywhere you go, and bottled beer, well, is bottled beer. But each and every Mellow Mushroom has a different vibe — and it’s all good.”

Bowling Green’s Mellow Mushroom is themed rock ‘n’ roll and corresponding music plays throughout the sound system, Holdenfield said.

WKU’s Career Services worked closely with Holdenfield to give students jobs. Holdenfield said a couple hundred students came to a job fair in December, and many of the servers and cooks at the restaurant attend WKU.

Mayfield senior Adam Jefferson works as a server at the restaurant. He heard about the position through Career Services, although he did not visit there to get the job.

Jefferson said he enjoys working at the Mellow Mushroom.

“I love it,” he said. “It’s the best serving job I think I’ve ever had. I know it’s cliché to say, but it’s mellow.”

Jefferson has previously worked at three other restaurants, including one in Hilton Head, N.C., over the summer. He said the Mellow Mushroom is second only to that in terms of how busy it is.

The Mellow Mushroom opened at 11 a.m., and Holdenfield said people walked in right away.

“They started rolling in at 11-ish,” he said. “I think we got to a wait at about noon. We had a good crowd and it’s been steady ever since.”

The crowds usually consist of families during the day, while more college students visit at night, Holdenfield said.

Frankfort freshman Mackie Fraley said he likes Bowling Green’s newest pizza place.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Fraley said. “I want to know how they make it, what ingredients they use, because it tastes so fresh and organic. They cook it perfectly.”

Fraley also said he likes the “psychedelic” and “groovy” decor.

“It’s all kinds of goodness,” he said.

Holdenfield said he is glad he decided to open the restaurant.

“I just got kind of tired of the rat race of the corporate world and wanted to do something fun and exciting,” he said. “This is fun and exciting, and I’m making money at this, offering good food and good service, a fun place to work and a fun place to visit.”