In Good Taste

New Pizza Spot Noona’s is the Latest Addition to Phil Han’s Restaurant Family

Named after Han’s sister, the Dooby’s spinoff opens today in Midtown-Belvedere.

By Lauren Cohen | December 6, 2018, 11:44 am

-Noona’s Pizza
In Good Taste

New Pizza Spot Noona’s is the Latest Addition to Phil Han’s Restaurant Family

Named after Han’s sister, the Dooby’s spinoff opens today in Midtown-Belvedere.

By Lauren Cohen | December 6, 2018, 11:44 am

-Noona’s Pizza

When it comes to naming his restaurants, Phil Han tends to get personal. Dooby’s in Mt. Vernon is a nod to his nickname as a young boy. Cocktail bar Sugarvale is a reference to the street that he grew up on. And forthcoming Broadway Market stall Old Boy pays homage to the classic Korean dishes Han now has a deeper appreciation for as an adult. His newest spot Noona’s—meaning sister in Korean—is a dedication to his older sister, Christina.

“In really thinking about what to call this place, I thought back to how the name fits within the grander scheme of what we do,” Han says. “‘Noona’ is a term of respect, specifically from a younger guy to his older sister.”

To further the dedication to his only sibling, Han worked alongside Christina on design and menu details for the Midtown-Belvedere restaurant. Even the logo for the new shop mimics his sister’s natural handwriting.

But beyond just their names, the restaurant concepts also serve as a way to give diners a glimpse at Han’s upbringing: “Like every other kid, almost every birthday party that I went to growing up was always surrounded by pizza as this central food,” he says.

Noona’s—which opens today in the former home of Two Boots Pizza in the Fitzgerald Apartment Building—features a menu of signature sourdough-crust pies topped with ingredients like pancetta and shallots, potatoes and leeks, and classic pepperoni and mozzarella. The offerings will also include larger entrees like braised lamb with mint farro or roasted pork loin with broccoli rabe.

“The menu certainly has a big pizza element to it, but we also just wanted it to be a good neighborhood restaurant,” Han says. “That was so key to where we wanted it to go. We thought about how it doesn’t have to be just a pizza place with a few traditional pizzas and garlic knots. It can be something more than that.”

Though there are some tie-ins to the Korean-fusion flavors at Dooby’s, including a kimchi pork belly pie and similar coffee and pastry program, Han says he wanted Noona’s to have its own identity.

The 55-seat space is a bit more modern, with mirrors by Artstar Baltimore, custom furniture by Goodwood Design, hanging ball light fixtures, a mix of individual and communal tables, and an L-shaped bar—which will be staffed by some familiar faces from his other businesses.

“The bar program is going to be very much driven by the Sugarvale team,” Han explains. “However, it’s going to be a touch more approachable. Sugarvale draws a lot more of the cocktail fanatic crowd, whereas this is more about how the drinks pair well with the food.”

Aside from six local brews on tap, the bar will also offer beers, prosecco cocktails, and a rotating list of signature drinks. Among them are a house Negroni and the “Della Tristezza,” which fuses rum, Strega liqueur, lime, grapefruit, pineapple, cane sugar, and molasses bitters.

An outdoor seating area with views of Mount Royal Station is also in the works for the warmer months. Han hopes that Noona’s becomes a go-to for locals commuting from Penn Station, as well as MICA and University of Baltimore students strolling around the area.

“It’s definitely a new neighborhood for us, but the way I think about it, it still feels like home field advantage,” Han says, mentioning that many Midtown residents are regulars at Dooby’s. “This definitely feels like familiar territory, and it feels great to be able to continue those relationships.”




Meet The Author

Lauren Cohen is the digital senior editor at Baltimore, where she covers food, events, lifestyle, and community news.



You May Also Like


Food & Drink

Waves of Grain

How craft beer has become the backbone of Maryland agriculture.

Food & Drink

Local Flavor Live Podcast: Our Biggest Restaurant Pet Peeves

Plus, Dooby's owner opens Inner Harbor spot, our take on the chicken sandwich debate, and best bites.

Food & Drink

Review: Keystone Korner

Harbor East's new jazz and supper club, Keystone Korner, strikes the right note.


In Good Taste

Open & Shut: Cazbar Columbia; Ekiben’s End of Summer Series; The Dizz

The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.


Food & Drink

Eat Global

From Afghanistan to Vietnam, take a culinary journey around the world without ever leaving Baltimore.

Connect With Us

Most Read


The Mare Projects Connects Communities in the African Diaspora: Works from their first-ever residency program will be on display at Gallery CA.

The Orioles Aren’t Moving Out of Town, But They Have a Long Way To Go: Putting a wrap on relocation rumors and the O’s predictable 2019 season.

New City Council Bill Could Ban Plastic Bag Use Across Baltimore: A vote next week could set in motion a bill that reaches the mayor’s desk.

The Book Thing Starts Next Chapter Under New Management: Here’s what to know when planning a visit to Baltimore’s free-to-all bookshop.

Cardinal Art Walks Explore Works Outside of the Gallery's Bolton Hill Walls: The ongoing fall exhibition is meant to make participants see the city in a new way.