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May 18, 2010

Johnny Rad's to replace Kelly's Tavern

this is a rendition of Johnny Rad's

Richard Pugh had been looking for the right place to open a Neapolitan pizza joint for years. His friend Steve Ball wanted to open a pub.

"We got together and said, 'Hey, you want to open a bar that serves pizza,'" Pugh said. "He said 'yes.'"

The result is a pizza pub named Johnny Rad's, which will replace Kelly's Tavern in the coming weeks.

Renovations big and small are under way at the Fells Point space, which should be open in June, Pugh said ...

They kept the old wood bar and bar back, but plan to knock out the square glass windows and replace them with ones that open out onto the street. A new wood door and different dining furniture is on the way, and the bar stools were resurfaced.

"Everything was old and outdated," Pugh said. "The place was covered in nicotine. ... We want it to be much more inviting and welcoming than that old school bar mentality. It’s not 1970 anymore."

Karaoke, which was once a fixture at Kelly's, will be back at Johnny Rad's, Pugh said. The kitchen will have a brick-lined oven, and serve meat, vegetarian and vegan Neapolitan pizzas.

Ball, the former operations manager of Bedrock Billiards, is running the bar side. There will be five beers on tap, from local brews to seasonals, as well as about 40 bottled beers and a dozen or so wines.

Johnny Rad's is named after a lounge singer from an '80s skateboarding movie. Check him out. The singer has a cult reputation among skaters from back in the day, Pugh said. Both Pugh and Ball have been skateboarding for more than 20 years.

"IF you grew up skateboarding in the 80s, you know who (Johnny Rad) is," he said. "If you grew up in the 90s, you heard about him."

(Rendition of Johnny Rad's courtesy of Pugh)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 11:38 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


Maybe a better question for the D@L blog ... but what's the difference between a Neapolitan pizza and the pizzas that tons of other bars are selling?

but what's the difference between a Neapolitan pizza and the pizzas that tons of other bars are selling?

I would guess about four bucks. Ba dum.

The secret of Neapolitan pizza? Coffin wood!

Just what fells point point needs another pizza place

This is great news! This area (upper fells point) needs more restaurants. A low key, but contemporary tavern sounds great and will be a good fit for the neighborhood.

Bowl a few games at Patterson Lanes, then go grab pizza and a beer across the street. I like it!

LIKES THIS!!!!!!!!!

This sounds like a great early family food option and an even better nightlife spot...

As long as the karaoke quality stays the same I'm all for it.

Pizza plus beer is a winning formula. It's worked for Joe Squared, and it's going to be a distinct advantage over every other pizza option in East Baltimore.

Just to clear up any controvery with true Neapolitan Pizza aficianados, we are baking Neapolitan "style" pies in a brick lined oven, not in a wood fired brick oven. We are however using a basic Neapolitan dough (just water, salt, yeast and Caputo 00 flour) and will be fermented and proofed a minimum of 24 hours before baking. We're also using DOP San Marzano tomatoes, Fior Di Latte and Mozzarella Di Bufala cheese (as well as a TEESE Vegan soy mozz style cheese) and all of the pizzas will be prepared in the Naples style with a thin crust center and a hearty crisp yet soft and chewy outer edge cornice with a bit of charring. We're going to be a casual Tavern in the neighborhood and hope to just offer great pizza and good drinks... Hope to see everyone come through

@Evan - Just shot soda out of my nose. Worth it.

With a name like Johnny Rad's it is bound to fail. How freaking stupid.

Johnny Rad's? With the Vision Gator background with the "Rad's" superimposed?

I'm hoping they get Suicidal Tendencies and the Circle Jerks to play opening night, while "Thrashin'" and "The Search for Animal Chin" are shown on the TV's.

We're probably going to have to have The Bones Brigade and Christian Hosoi as the guests of honor.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Johnny!

Although I was an occasional Kelly's patron (maybe it's just me, but I kinda liked the "old and outdated" look) ("covered in nicotine," mmmmmmmmmm), I look forward to checking out your new place (and was more than happy to sign your petition as you pursued your license!).

Again ... welcome! Now get back to work, busting out those glass bricks!

Wish it was gonna be a crab place again, I miss the old Kelly's when Kelly and Mary ran it, they had the best crabs in town!

Best of luck to you! I grew up, and still have family, that live right by there, so this might be a stop for the wife & I when we go visit.

to start, i think the potential that this place has is astronomical. not just "another pizza place" ... a real pizza place. this is not just greasy run-of-the-mill. this is fresh ingredients, fresh dough, fresh cheese - the difference is delicious. and the name is quite clever, it'll spark conversation amongst seasoned skateboarders and draw a crowd that may not typically venture into fells point. at the same time, it's not offensive or pigeon-holed, it still says casual, fun atmosphere. i'm thrilled about the prospect of a classy but down to earth "alternative" tavern to frequent, a tavern where the bartender will always have your usual at arm's length, the menu is diverse and outside just the typical carnivorous options (although there will be plenty of that as well). a place like johnny rad's is just what the doctor ordered if you ask me. phenomenal beer list, great pizza, vegetarian and vegan menu options, and a swanky atmosphere to boot, i just don't see this place accomplishing anything less than greatness.

Linz, I hope you got paid in dollars and not SHILLings for that post.

Wow, Linz.... wow

You forgot a few things. Rads will

--Cure gout
--Prevent all taco shells from breaking
--Eliminate rats from Fells Point
--Bring Boardwalk Elvis to Thames Street
--Get the O's over .500
--Bring the Roy Rogers and the Little Tavern back to Eastern Ave.
--Get duckpin bowling in the Summer Olympics

Thanks for all the comments. We're working hard to get the place open asap. We can not take responsibility for not getting the O's over .500 but we'll try to do our part on not giving the rats anything to enjoy. Actually, we might be able to cure gout and prevent hard taco shells from breaking at some point... In the meantime, we'll stick to what we know best which is pizzas and drinks :)

When is this place going to open?

Hope to be open before the end of July. Several construction and equipment delivery setbacks pushed us back several weeks but were rounding the bend now...

U better serve Dales Pale Ale....

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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