Young and Hungry

Radius Pizza Closed? Not So Fast

Looks like the Washington Post wrote the obituary on Radius Pizza a little too soon. The Mount Pleasant eatery isn't closing, after all. Rather, it's being sold and is only temporarily closed as a deal with the landlord is finalized and the liquor license transfered.

The soon-to-be owners are husband and wife Matt and Lenka Culbertson, who've lived in the neighborhood for the past five years. She previously did financials and accounting for Tonic Restaurant Group—which owned Radius when it opened in 2005. He's worked a number of jobs in the restaurant industry for more than 15 years, including bartending stints at Rasika and PS7's. Matt was also a part owner of Cowboy Cafe in Arlington until November.

The Culbertsons tell Y&H that they won't change the name of the pizzeria or the pizza recipe, but the rest of the menu will be revamped with more family-style pastas and salads as well as new entrees and daily specials.

"It seemed like the last owners tried to make it more of a fancy restaurant like it would belong in Penn Quarter," Matt says. He hopes to make it more neighborhood-friendly and affordable. (No word yet, though, on whether the $5 pint/slice happy hour deal will stick around.)

Y&H left messages for previous owners Todd and Nicole Wiss, but they didn't return calls or an email over the last week. Tonic owner Jeremy Pollok, one of the original owners who is now helping the Culbertsons take over, says the Wisses "accepted other opportunities elsewhere before there was enough time to finalize the deal." He didn't elaborate on the other opportunities.

No big changes are planned for the physical space, but the Culbertsons want to make it their own. "We're going to add some small touches to make it our place and show that there's been a change of ownership," Matt says.

If all goes as planned, they hope to open in September.

Photo via Google Maps

  • Dee

    Please, please, please keep the cesar salad on the menu. It's seriously the best salad in the city!

  • T

    In my opinion Todd Wiss is one of the most underrated chef in DC. Radius was a great casual restaurant when he was there. Seems like the new owners (who need to rip off someone else's pizza recipe because they aren't chefs) confuse "fancy" with "good" food. Radius was a place to get a great solid meal with no pretense. It wasnt trying to be a "Penn Quarter" shop. Hope the new owners can retain a lot of that and keep the food at the level it was at with Todd. And yes, I'm a chef friend of Todd's but fact is his food was great!

  • mt p’er

    Dear Matt and Lenka,

    I think on behalf of most of Mt Pleasant, I can say thank you for working to preserve decent pizza in Mt P (sorry Angelico's).

    I also think it would fantastic if y'all kept the $5 slice/pint deal. And maybe the $5 mussels too. I also love the idea of more family-style items.

    Thank you and hopefully see you in the new Radius soon!

  • Kurt

    I have to totally disagree with the new owners here. The only reason I went to radius was not the pizza, it was the other items that they think are too fancy and belong in Penn Quarter (totally outdated reference btw). A lot of people have moved into Mt P in recent years and paid substantial amounts of money for a row house or condo - those people sometimes like to have a nice dinner and not trek downtown. Radius was fantastic for this. A family pasta chowdown spot is not what I had hoped for at all. The neighborhood is a mix so please to anyone out there thinking about Mt P to open a restaurant or like minded business, part of that mix now contains people who want nicer (and as a result more expensive) dining options and who are willing to spend the money.

  • David

    If you want upscale dining, it is also possible to have it delivered to your row house.

  • Kevin

    I completely agree with Kurt and T. Not only was Radius my favorite restaurant in the neighborhood, I thought it was a hidden gem in the city (and I don't know the chef). Every restaurant talks about seasonal menus, but Radius actually had one. Unfortunately, I thought their weakest aspect was the pizza. Keep everything else and change that!

    I really hope the new owners will make it more than a Tonic with Pizza. There are so many "affordable" options in the neighborhood, I will gladly pay a little more for the better quality. And the best part about Radius was that it was the great food without the crap that goes along with a good restaurant in other parts of the city (i.e., the scene). I really believe that MtP has not capitalized on its residents and the growing population in Columbia Heights that would be willing to come over to a nice place.

  • Melissa Bell

    As that obituary writer, you give me some hope for a Radius revival (thank you!), but gotta agree with the other readers. Radius won't be Radius without the delightfully surprising menu choices. I mourn the loss of Todd's cooking skills. I'll wait to pass judgment entirely, but please, please, please keep bartender J.C. around!

  • Ombudsman

    Oh Washington Post, how silly you are for saying Radius is closed.
    Well OK it IS closed.
    And no one currently owns it.
    But someone is negotiating to buy it!
    So some day, it will probably reopen again.
    The people who are talking about buying it hate the old menu and are going to change it.
    But they will probably call the new place Radius.
    And the person who bought it LIVES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.
    And used to work there!
    Well not there-
    At a different restaurant.
    And she was the accountant, not the chef.
    But it is across the hall!
    So really, how stupid is the WaPo for reporting that Radius closed.
    What bad reporting.

  • Another Mt P’er

    Agree with many of the comments above--please keep seasonal aspects and the happy hour! Mt P does not need greasy cookie-cutter pizza.

  • badnooz

    first of all, todd and his wife are both liars and suck at owning restaurants. they also skipped town after giving their staff final paychecks, of which ALL bounced. real stand up folks...cowards! sure todd is a good chef, but he's a bigger asshole, and that is why he will be fired from EVERY job he's had or will ever have, even the one he owned himself. karma will get both todd and nicole wiss, unfortunately since they skipped town like the cowards they are, we won't get to see it.

    as for more new and exciting restaurants in mtp, good luck! the neighborhood assoc., most of the people in the neighborhood and whatever other assoc. involved in mtp won't allow it...they're afraid of "change" or "mtp becoming a destination and turning into adams morgan". although, i think a couple more bodegas and laundromats would really spruce up the ol hood, don't you?! or how bout we leave a huge burned out apartment bldg right in the middle of this great neighborhood for another 5 yrs?!

    good luck getting anything that would improve mtp (street). it's a half assed neighborhood w/ more laundromats, bodegas, and mediocre restaurants than any other street in dc.

    so if some couple wants to come in and try to make a go of it in radius, why not support them first? they haven't even opened yet and already are getting a hard time. it's not like this street can do any worse!

  • Kim

    Ugh. The last thing D.C. needs is for someone to dismantle a good restaurant like Radius. It was not upscale dining -- it was something better: Very good food at a reasonable price. We could use more of those types of establishments around here.
    I agree with the other posters -- I thought the pizza was good, but definitely not the best thing on the menu. But the $5 slice and beer special was one of the better deals in D.C.
    The rest of the menu was also reasonably priced (especially considering the focus on local ingredients) and delicious.
    Also, I object to the idea that this place was not family friendly. Why? Cause there's no spaghetti and meatballs on the menu?
    This sounds like a terrible idea.

  • Kervin

    Someone should tell that halfwit Prince of Petworth to stop spreading unsubstantiated rumors about the status of various small businesses around town.

  • Mtp

    Pizza wasnt the point of the old Radius. These people don't get it.

  • superstadtkind

    My husband is, among other things, a mozzarella stick afficianado. Using his tried and true 5 factor scoring system, Radius' sticks came out on the top of the heap. But then they took them off the menu last fall. When asked why on a public forum (twitter), they replied,"Cheese prices are too high." This from the owners of a pizza joint. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? In case you're wondering, the sticks never reappeared.

  • Maggie

    I hope the "new" place will still honor that "10 magnets for a free pizza deal." Of course, I was able to collect all 10 about five days before Radius closed.

  • Jessica

    Hope, the radius pizza should be back soon

    Pizzeria Dublin

  • no idiot

    dear "T". you are obviously Todd or Nicole Wiss/Ryan. you are both liars who royally and completely took advantage of your staff. You used everyone who happened to help/work for you and manipulated everyone and everything around you. as badnooz said you're both cowards and did nothing to build or better your staff...just stepped on them. Todd was not a great chef,.he was a chef of salt. he also disrespected, degraded and demoralized his kitchen. good luck wherever you are. you'll need it. as for Nicole, back stabbing, two-faced, passive aggressive no talent hack who no less then financially ran that business into the ground. yeah good luck working anywhere cuz neither of them liked to work. they used and abused their staff so they could be stay at home owners who were too concerned about their front yard or their damn dogs to be worried about the business that sustained them. yeah. good f**king luck, losers.

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  • http://Youngandhungry Keeping it real

    Just as no idiot said tod and Nicole are the two worse people who pissed off everyone they came into contact with. Not only did they not use the fresh farm products te last year they where in business ( because they never paid any of them.) they lied about everything to everyone! They shopped at restaurant depot for all of their food! Didn't pay there taxes for 3 years or the dc government or their employees. I hope you to burn in hell you scumbag losers!!!

  • A fan

    We love the mussels, the arugula salad, the calamari, ... everything on the seasonal menu of Radius. The pizza is not that special though. I hope the new owners will be able to produce such unique recipes.

  • Wrack

    Slice and pint! Slice and pint! Save the best deal in the District!

  • herewegoagain

    Please, please don't change the crust!

  • JC (ex Radius bartender)

    For those concerned, i'm now bartending at Tonic, so if you're the neighborhood Tues-Fri come say hey!

  • Let’s See What They Can Do

    I'm glad to read that JC is at Tonic. Perhaps I will stop by. I too - like many others - will miss Todd and Nicole. Maybe there are those who have a real right to gripe, but I'm not one of them. My experience with Todd is simple - he came to our table and bar stool to talk food, cooking, and the challenges of owning a restaurant. I liked their food and enjoyed seeing them working together. I don't know - or care to know - anything about paid taxes, rent, food bills, etc. I do recall that Tonic previously owned the space and it was rumored that it wasn't that great, but I never went there myself before moving into the area. So, I am sad to see Todd and Nicole go, but I am always willing to give new owners a shot. What's really unnerving is that we didn't get a restaurant where the new paint store is a few blocks down. Great outdoor space, great parking, and lots of curb appeal - but it's a McCormick Paint. Bad move, Mt. Pleasant. And, please no more dry cleaners, liquor stores, or bad convenience stores.

  • Chris W.

    What should I do with my 10 magnets? Bring back the za!

  • TJ

    Glad to hear a new owner is going to give the Radius space a go soon rather than have one of the few interesting food spaces sit idle in Mt.P. Radius was a top restaurant in the immediate area for experimentation with fresh veggies in pizza and pasta dishes. Best salads too and a sharp drink menu. All the seasonal offerings and standing menu items worked. Hope the new owners don't completely abandon their approach.

  • dcdoug

    to the new owners;
    if you are inclined and have the time to meet i'd like to talk to you about your new endeaver. i have a good pizza and restaurant background and may be able to be of service. you can reach me at

    Best wishes...Doug

  • MtP Lover

    Yay to new owners! I really, really liked the pizza and other options but absolutely refused to support Todd's attempt at livelihood/adulthood. He treated his employees like reality show fodder and poisoned what could have been an amazing addition to the community.

    Karma has only just begun to catch up. Wish his poor dogs didn't have to endure that haul.

    Lenka and Matt sound like a terrific combo to turn it around. Vegan cheese options please!

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