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Phat Pug Coal-Fired Pizzeria in Perry Hall - Closed for Renovation

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Thanks to a Chowhound thread there's news of a coal-fired pizzeria closer than New Haven or NYC. Phat Pug is located about 2.3 miles outside the Baltimore Beltway (Belair Road - exit 32B off of 695).

The Phat Pug Coal Fired Pizzeria

8814A Bel Air Road

Perry Hall, MD 21236

410 256 5700



These websites are registered, but aren't populated yet:



Their hours are 11:00 to 04:00 seven days a week - they're only scheduled to be closed between four and eleven in the morning. Today, they were closed for a large chunk of the afternoon to make dough. Words to the wise: Call Before You Drive.

I was heartened to see 40 pound bags of Reading Anthracite, but also a quartered piece of wood in the oven. For a moment I thought it would be cool to see the coal bags prominently stacked, like the potato bags at 5Guys, noting where today's coal was "sourced."


My pizza (mushroom & prosciutto) was one of the first out of the oven that day - crispy with minimal char and blonde bottom. It was chewy, but not bread-y. It was also sturdy enough to hold up to some overly generous toppings that over powered the prosciutto - there was too much of really good moz and a homemade, though sweet, sauce (not soggy at all).



They probably planned on mostly carryout. There is no beer/wine and few tables.



I was glad that the place is laid out so I was able watch my pie come out and convince the staff to send my pie back into the oven. The owner arrived later and explained that they usually do a heavier char and would, if asked, in the future. Pies have the potential to be better if they'd been full tilt with a ton of pies ahead of mine and someone tending the oven to the exclusion of other, non-pizza, tasks.

The owner then explained an eyepoppingly ambitious plan to open a Federal Hill location in late October and a Little Italy sports-bar themed location sometime around January. He is from Florida and uses the coal-fired pizzas in South Florida especially Anthony's in Ft. Lauderdale as his inspiration.

I wish Mr. Depasquale and his wife great luck. They've only been open a month in Perry Hall with many of the issues every new place faces (e.g., trying to get consistency with core products while establishing staffing and looking forward to rolling out new items like gelato).

Here's their menu - everthing from mussels/clams to subs, wings and cheesesteaks. PhatPugMenu_Sept2007.pdf

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Lydia---great research as always! You are a credit to the CH/Rockwell cohort. I must say, tho I'm no expert on the subject, the opening in that oven looks mighty big; one wonders whether the heat would be more intense is it were smaller.

If ever I pass by that area again I will certainly give it a shot. Has Joe H weighed in on this one yet?

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There was a short mention in this week's Baltimore Sun that included an update on their expansion plans:

DePasquale, flush with the success of his new venture, says he's going to expand "from here to Miami." He's already started, with plans to open Phat Pugs in Federal Hill on Fort Avenue and Fells Point, either on Thames Street or off Broadway, in the next couple of months.
The Chowhound thread has been updated with several significant service issues. Given that some pies take more than an hour, this [currently] may not be a good choice for a quick roadtrip refueling stop.
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I went to Phat pug last night.

I must say, I really loved the pizza- the crust- the right mix of crisp and chewy- really nice ingredients and delicious tomato sauce.

I had the pugarita (white pizza) the smelly pug (proscuitto, garlic, tomato)- both delicious.

I must admit an issue with how they run the business- I tried calling ahead, but at the time, none of the employees on spoke ideal English to take the order or give me directions.

Secondly, the pace of pizza making is pretty long- they would do better with just an eat-in service because carry-out took a long time. Not sure how many pizza's they can make at the same time, but it seemed like one at a time when I was there. If I had to order 3 or more pies, they would get cold waiting for the other ones.

They need to streamline the operation to make it work.

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I must admit an issue with how they run the business- I tried calling ahead, but at the time, none of the employees on spoke ideal English to take the order or give me directions.
Seems the "call ahead" strategy isn't going to work because Chowhounders noted a Baltimore Sun report confirming that Phat Pug's phone has been disconnected. It seems, as of yesterday, they're still in business, but just barely.
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The Ft. Lauderdale "model" is actually a mini chain of eight (yes, EIGHT!) coal oven pizzarias in South Florida. We drove by at least three of them as part of a trip late last summer. http://www.anthonyscoalfiredpizza.com/home.php

I drove by the Ft. Lauderdale location last month while visiting family for T-day, but didn't think much of it.

There's one 5 minutes from my mom's place in Coral Springs, so I will have to check it out my next time down there.

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I drove by the Ft. Lauderdale location last month while visiting family for T-day, but didn't think much of it.

This is down the road from my brother. I didn't realize it was a chain. We stopped in once on the way from the airport. I remember it being pretty good with a nice char but they had too heavy a hand with the toppings.

I passed a Five Guys on my trip the week before last.

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The Baltimore Sun's Food Blog has been updated with an email received from owner Michael Depasquale regarding the Perry Hall location. Mr. Depasquale tells columnist Elizabeth Large he's focusing on the new locations...

Hello elizabeth this is mike depasquale owner of the phat pug i recently did a licensing agreement with someone for my perry hall location.We are in transition right now.I understand there have been lots of complaints about my restaurant and how it has beeen being run.I'am very sorry to you and the public about these problems but they will be straightened out asap.There is some new remodeling taking place,New equipment being instsalled,and some rearranging going on.So the place can be run more effeciently.I know when I'am there things are run accordingly.I am opening new locations after the first of the year.After everything has been completed I would love everyone to come to the phat pug to enjoy some great pizza.I appreciate the great article you wrote when I first opened up.So just give me and the new people a chance things will be back to great again.Also we will have a new menu.I still will be there for a while starting january15,2008 through the whole transition to help them.That is part of the deal.Ipromise the coal fired pizza will be back to the way you remember it. Sincerely, Michael DePasquale - Phat Pug....And the new phone number at the Phat Pug will be on this week.
The saga continues.
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