When Betty’s Nosh co-owners Phil Denaro and Justin Davis opened their Glendale eatery in 2011, they sought a novel idea to entice diners – “something that people hadn’t heard of before,” Davis says. Since Denaro is an avid fungi fan, the duo thought a mushroom bar might fill the bill.
Customers choose between portobello or large button mushrooms and about 20 different toppings, including several vegetarian options, which are then theatrically stuffed into the mushrooms in the restaurant’s exhibition kitchen. “They’re not made ahead of time,” Davis says.
The spinach and artichoke combo – with spinach, artichokes, onions, feta, fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and Alfredo sauce – is one of the most popular vegetarian options, according to mushroom bar cook Katie Williams. Other vegetarian selections include South of the Border, a blend of julienned and sautéed eggplant, zucchini, onions and red pepper with a splash of chili powder, cumin and paprika, topped with spicy queso or cheese; and the Mama Mia, filled with ricotta cheese, mozzarella and marinara.
At first, Denaro and Davis were a little nervous that the mushroom concept might not be well-received. “People have a visceral reaction to mushrooms – they either love them or hate them,” Davis says. “But it’s gone over wonderfully.”
And for the fungi-averse, there’s a “Hold the Mushrooms” option with the toppings heaped on crostini toasts.
6685 W. Beardsley Rd., Glendale
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