Let me start by saying this: I’m a pizza snob. Don’t get me wrong, I love pizza in every form. I believe even bad pizza is still good pizza, but when it comes to good pizza; I know what makes good pizza good.
The best way to judge a restaurant’s pizza is with a plain cheese pizza; it takes pizza and brings it down to its basic ingredients, so there are no distractions. The bells and whistles of a specialty pizza shouldn’t factor into the assessment of a restaurant’s ability to make pizza.
When it comes to good pizza, there are three main points: the bread, the sauce and the cheese.
In the last couple weeks I’ve started to hear more and more about Mad Mushroom, a pizza place that recently opened up by McAllister’s.
Last weekend, I decided to try it for myself to see if the small chain lived up to the growing hype.
I got a large cheese pizza for $10, which isn’t a bad price point, but on Mondays a large cheese will run you only $5.
Visually, Mad Mushroom’s pizza doesn’t stand out. It looks like a standard, cheap pizza.
When it comes to the bread and sauce, it’s a little underwhelming. The sauce doesn’t have a distinct flavor and the crust is just thick and bland, but isn’t dry like that of many local and chain pizza shops.
Where Mad Mushroom stood out, though, is with its cheese. This is, debatably, the most important of the three main aspects of a good pizza. At the very least, it’s the most important to me as a cheese lover.
Most pizza places in the South tend to use pre-shredded, low-moisture mozzarella, and I don’t know specifically what Mad Mushroom uses for their cheese; but it’s indicative of the freshly shredded mozzarella of New York pies.
Mad Mushroom’s pizza has a gorgeous cheese pull with the cheese stretchy and gooey.
More importantly, though, is the flavor. The cheese is tied with Papalino’s in Berea for best cheese I’ve had on a pizza in Kentucky. It’s not a real New York pizza, but the cheese might make you second guess it for a moment.
Does excelling in this one area make Mad Mushroom the best pizza in town? Probably not, but it’s a contender because of it.
There were still plenty of issues with this pizza despite its great cheese. It seemed desperate for a little oregano, but I can say I’m impressed with what I got from a chain pizza.
Don’t go looking for this restaurant to change your life, but I would definitely recommend checking out Mad Mushroom’s pizza for that $5 cheese on Mondays.