Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: B.O.P. Brick Oven Pizza, Baltimore MD (Fells Point)

Planning a day trip from West Chester PA to Baltimore harbor destinations (Fort McHenry, Inner Harbor, Lexington Market, Fells Point), I did some research for the best pizza in town. This city is known, of course, for its crabs, not its pizzas. And most experts agree that the Pizza Belt extends no further south than the northern edges of Delaware. Still, we found some useful advice that pointed us to two choices in the Fells Point area: Italian Graffiti and B.O.P. Brick Oven Pizza.
Click on any picture to enlarge

First, some travel advice for Baltimore day trippers: Fells Point, on the same waterfront, is 3,563% more interesting than the well-known Inner Harbor tourist destination. It's an old, charming neighborhoods whose streets, often cobblestone, are lined with cool shops and restaurants and blessedly few chains. The Inner Harbor really is just another suburban mall anchored by places like Cheesecake Factory and tchotchke stores. 

Parking is difficult at either the Inner Harbor or Fells Point, but on weekdays there is ample street parking for about $2 per hour in Fells Point, and conveniently at the foot of the water taxi stand. The best advice I got before this trip was to park and then use the water taxi to get around. For $12 all day, you can ride to and from many spots on the harbor, including Fells Point, the Inner Harbor, and the wonderful Fort McHenry. In fact, next time I will begin at Fort McHenry, where you can park for free (although the last boat to take you there leaves Fells Point at 3pm).
Lexintgon Market, walking distance from Inner Harbor
Meat Lover's Pie at B.O.P.

Anyhow, we chose B.O.P as our pizza stop. We arrived hungry at lunch time and ordered the 14" Meat lover's pie (not my choice, but you compromise for teen travelers). The place had a nice vibe and the staff were especially friendly. We ordered some Italian Sodas in cool flavors like peach and passionfruit, and our pizza arrived promptly.
The wood-fired brick oven

In the kitchen

Cozy interior

The pie was well-assembled and sported a nice assortment of meat toppings. The four of us devoured it easily. The crust was crispy on the bottom, wet nowhere, and was sturdy enough to support the generous toppings (BOP also has a "thin crust" pie, but the staff advised the regular crust for this meat-heavy pie).
A peek under the hood. Nice crisping

Kawah digs in

Everything about this pie was good, but nothing about it was great. The crust was light and airy, but thicker than ideal and lacking character. The sauce and cheese and meat toppings were nice -- there were no off flavors, but no outstanding flavors either.

Laugen samples a slice

What would a DiGiorno frozen pizza taste like if you cooked it in a wood-fired brick oven? Pretty much like this pizza. We liked the staff, the ambiance, the neighborhood, and the Italian soda, but we were disappointed by this pizza; it was just too damn generic. Perhaps the thin-crust pie offers more character.
Crust looked better than it tasted

Meat lover likes the meat lover pie

The crust is a 5 elevated to a 6 by the nice crisping it got in the brick oven. The sauce is a 5, the cheese is a five, the meats a 5. Overall, a 5.5 experience that was a decent belly-filler and fairly priced, but it's a better place to take kids than discriminating pizza eaters.

B.O.P. Brick Oven Pizza on Urbanspoon


  1. That is a serious looking pizza! You take great pics. What type of camera do you use? I was thinking of graduating from my smart phone camera...

    1. Hi Pizza Brother! I work hard on the pics. Sometimes it is just my Galaxy Android phone, but on this one it was my simple $150 Olympus 7-megapixel model camera that is more than 5 years old. My phone has more megapixels but of course the real cam has a superior lense. In Italy, we used my wife's $650 Sony RX-100 camera which takes stunning shots and still fits in your pocket. Still, I am a rank amateur in food photography compared to some food bloggers. I think they use professional cameras and maybe even lighting enhancements. Look at this blog:

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Jonny B's Pizza EmporiumFebruary 11, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    To get the full BOP experience you need to try their "different" pizzas. The mac and cheese is a good one, my favorite is the pesto and prosciutto (I usually add the chicken as well), and there use to be a cheese steak and fires pizza (cheese steak meat, American cheese, french fries, and some kind of cream sauce) but I didn't see it on the online menu. They are the pizzas that you should try.

    I agree that their "normal" pizzas are good, but nothing to write home about. While I have only been there sober, you should know that A LOT of the reviews are coming from drunk people in there 20's who are stumbling out of the bars and right into BOP.

  3. Great feedback - thanks for sharing that. Is Jonny B's a pizza place in Baltimore too?

    1. There's Johnny Rad's, by Patterson Park. There's also Joe Squared, two locations. The first is off of North Avenue, in a neighborhood that's pretty okay but comes off sketchy, and the second is in Power Plant Live, by the Inner Harbor.

  4. A quick word of advice: If you do return to Baltimore and visit again, you may want to rethink your water taxi plan. While there is a water taxi stop at Fort McHenry, you won't be able to get on there. That stop will only pick you up if you already have a ticket and they will not sell you a ticket at that location. I'm not exactly sure why, but I believe it is because Fort McHenry is a National Park and there are restrictions on people doing business there. At least, you'll want to call ahead to the water taxi service to make sure. Also, if you do come back, you should try Joe Squared's pizza. I personally like it better than BOP.

  5. At 2039 Aliceanna St, there is a parking lot for the nearby marina.

    It's less than a ten-minute walk from downtown Fells Point, and they only tow once a day at 7am.

    I'd recommend parking there the next time you're in the area.

  6. You might want to try two other places before you go and judge Baltimore on its pizza. I recommend Johnny Rad's on Eastern Ave in the Fells Point area (a little further north) and Birroteca in Hampden. Joe Squared is too chain-like at this point for me.