baltimores newest johnny dough ...

ive strayed out of my comfort zone this week for your review. instead of staying focused and keeping to the winding path of the sandwich quest, i found myself making a slight detour last night with a group of guys. there were 6 of us all together; brothers from dallas street, roomates from alicanna street, a luzerne ave roomie, and myself. we had discussed earlier the week our desire to head over to one of our favorite finds for drinking this summer, johhny rads, and partake in their happy hour and dinner menu.

im sure some of you already know (or discovered upon clicking on the link above) that rads is the new pizza bar located on eastern ave and straddling the 2 neighborhoods of patterson park and upper fells. the concept for the place is really summed up with the moniker of pizza bar. its a bar that is focused on serving a wide range of quality pizza pies. but to leave out the 'rad' aspect of this pizza bar would rob johhny rads of its pulse and its character.

rads is one of the restaurants in town that i like to group together and call the punk rock culinary scene. other examples of said scene would include sticky rice, jacks bistro, hamilton tavern, and even a place like holy frijoles. and what i mean with the punk rock tag is that these places have decided in one way or another to swim upstream and do something completely different that can be a bit tongue and cheek, but all the while focusing on food and providing the baltimore culinary world with an exciting, inventive, and less traveled culinary path.

wait till you get a blue corn one of these!
johhny rads fits this mold because it is a throw back to a neighborhood pizza parlor one might see on tv or in the movies. a place that caters to all types. a place that while serving food and drink also focuses on providing a place for friends to meet up, have a bite, and catch up. and at rads this is all achieved amidst a skateboarding/james bond theme that stretches from the front door to the bathroom and all the way back to the old school 720 video game machine (games are free. yes thats right free 720).

hosoi pizza
upon this trip to the neighborhood pizza parlor we were pleasantly surprised to find out that instead of just coming in at the end of happy hour (we showed up at 645) that in fact we had an entire additional hour to enjoy $3 draft lagunitas pale ales or victory pilsners because at rads happy hour goes till 8pm! so with beers smoothly sliding across the table and down the proverbial hatches it was time to tuck into some food. the standard/required starter at johhny rads is 100% the hush puppies, which are called 'huf puppies' on the menu. these hand made yellow and blue corn balls are seasoned, breaded, fried to a golden crisp, and served with a chipolte mayo that is so addictive that it might contain crack.

following the fried corn pillows dipped in spicy crack mustard we moved on to the house specialty, the pizza. now i am not a self proclaimed pizza expert, but i know my stuff. pizza is a top favorite food of mine, and if you are not able to trust my opinion or are looking for an expert let me point you in the direction of baltimores own pizza blogger. i digress. the pizza at rads is all about simple, but playful flavors. the dough is semolina based (i think)  100% caputo 00 flour (i know for a fact) and leans towards the doughy side instead of the crunchy side. with that being said the dough is flavorful and isnt too heavy. in fact it has a soft texture that actss as a great base for the specialty pies. the math was simple on this particular visit; 6 dudes = 3 pizzas. so on the docket for dinner was 3 large pizzas:

  • a1 meats - a meaty pizza as the name would hint. it had crunchy panchetta, spicy sopressata, and salty proscuitto. olive oil, mozzarella cheese, and chopped basil rounded this one out. definately a tasty pie, but the trio of meats did prove to be a bit heavy for rads' lighter house made pizza dough.
  • el gato - the understated pizza on the menu. this was a classic white pie base which was garlic & oil on the base. mozzarella and ricotta on top and whole leaves of basil. the garlic oil was divine. folks were sweeping this pizza tray with their crusts until all remnants of the oil was gone. the tray was clean in other words.
  • hosoi - this was the crowd favorite from a previous trip. this spicy creation has mozzarella, panchetta, and the sweet and spicy duo of pineapple and jalepeno. i can understand why my compatriots were super insistent about ordering on of these.
domo ari ... el gato???

all in all the pizza was really good. not jaw dropping amazing, but solid all around. the prices are super affordable. the beers as mention before were a significant bargain at 3 bucks a pop, and the pizzas were $18/$14/$15 for larges (maybe 14 inches). the tonue and cheek theme, the atmosphere, the laid back accepting attitude all come together to make rads a welcome addition to the neighborhood and definitely a welcome addition to baltimores punk rock culinary scene.  if the cheap drinks and quality pizzas arent enough for you to give rads a try, then maybe the punk rock culinary scene isnt for you ... 

Johnny Rad's on Urbanspoon


  1. Thanks for the review! Come back soon. FYI, dough is 100% caputo 00 flour, no semolina in the building :)

  2. Thanks for the read and the info Rich. I made the edit. Love the place. Was in there last night in fact. Delicious!

  3. Johnny Radz is what I like to call Chronadonasaurus Rex!

  4. Chi-pot-le. Not Chi-pol-te.


  5. We went there for Monday night football. Always a great place for good food/beer and watch a game. I live within a 2 minute walk and every time I walk by there are a good amount of people in there. Surely a good sign.

  6. worth my 1 hour drive to support my friends. new pizza every visit, and they dont dissapoint.