It’s never fair in a relationship to look into the past and compare a new love to the old one. Especially if that first flame went out one night with a sign tacked to the front door claiming they had stepped out for a vacation.
Such was the fate of lovers of Radius restaurant, a pizza joint and neighborhood bar in Mt. Pleasant. In July, a sign announced the place would be closed for a two-week hiatus, but the doors stayed shut as the summer marched on. Eventually the news trickled out: Todd and Nicole Wiss, the owners, had closed the place down.
Last week, though, starved pizza fans found new hope with a Radius redux. Husband-and-wife duo Matt and Lenka Culbertson resuscitated the restaurant, reopening it with a new menu, the old pizza recipe and a hope for longevitiy.
There is no liquor behind the bar yet, but Matt Culbertson plans to take his place there when the liquor license lands (hopefully by the second week of November). Otherwise, the narrow restaurant looks much the same, with new mood lighting, and a freshly painted mural on one wall.
It may not be fair to make past comparisions, but they slip out. The pizza crust is thicker, the salt is used aggressively; the other ingredients used sparingly.
The Wisses had a playful, unusual approach to pairing ingredients for surprising dishes . The Culbertsons have gone for a more homey, straight-forward style.
Sometimes, though, people can use a little stability. Culbertson, who previously co-owned the Cowboy Cafe in Arlington, seems intent on staying put in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.
“I want to turn it into a big time neighborhood bar,” Culbertson said. “We’ve had a good response so far.”
In part, he’s putting down roots because he and his family live in the neighborhood and the new restaurant affords him more time spent with his family, Culbertson said. The night I stopped in, his four-year-old daughter ran along the wooden floor to greet her parents’ friends; classic rock played on the stereo; and I couldn’t stop eating the pizza. It felt a little like coming home.