Walking into Johnny Rad’s off of Eastern Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, I didn’t exactly expect a gourmet dining experience. The long hallway-like design to the back included a bar to the left with some Star Wars decor and TV’s playing pro and amateur skateboarding highlights on repeat, while the blackboard on a tan and red wall to the right boasted a variety of daily food specials. Further back, a sign I didn’t expect – “SKEEBALL!”. That’s right, not only do they have amazing, eclectic food specials, they also have a mini arcade.
Just a few days before coming to Johnny Rads, I committed to veganism. One of the strictest forms of vegetarianism EVER. I thought this would have ruined my nights out, restaurant dates, even scrounging together some kind of meal that would fill me up for hours. I was so wrong.
My boyfriend and I ended up getting the vegan Trainwreck pizza with vegan mozzarella, olives, mushrooms, spinach, olive oil and sea salt (mmMMMm), and a vegan Philly cheesesteak. My vegan nerves settled as soon as I took my first bite of pizza, and my taste buds grew ecstatic as I continued onto the cheesesteak. If I hadn’t known that I ordered a VEGAN cheesesteak, I would have thought I was in Philly myself getting one with all the meats. Even my boyfriend, a vegetarian for almost 8 years now, said it was the best vegan cheesesteak he has ever had (and he’s had many a veggie cheesesteak). You wouldn’t expect a place famous for its pizza in Baltimore to be the place with one of the best vegan cheesesteaks out there, but to say they delivered would be an understatement.
The pizza was impressive, to say the least. For a place famous for this fan favorite of doughy, cheesy goodness, it had to be. We got the large, and for a couple that usually plows through a large pizza from a chain restaurant like Papa John’s or Domino’s, we were a little shocked when we ended up taking half of the pizza to go. It was a bit of a struggle trying to fit the leftovers in a normal sized pizza box, but the bartender helped us out and only the crust of one piece ended up folded in. Even so, it made an amazing lunch the next day for the both of us, folded crust and all!
This place is one of the only things I will probably regret about moving out of the Baltimore area, along with some of my favorite bars and, of course, favorite people. I’ll be visiting again soon, and to those of you still in the area who want a good meal for a reasonable price, GO CHECK IT OUT (maybe after a short run around Patterson Park, which is conveniently located a block away – great for working off those beer and pizza calories)!