CARMEL, Ind.-- When it comes to opening your own business—especially when that business is a restaurant—it’s not uncommon for loved ones to try and talk you out of such a big gamble.
Yet, for local chef Josh Hall, there was always one man in his corner who kept encouraging him to open his own restaurant. That man was his wife’s grandfather, World War II veteran Rad Bailey.
Flash forward to today and you can catch Hall manning the kitchen of his very own restaurant located at the intersection of 126th Street and Gray Road. The restaurant is chef-driven, quality focused and fittingly named “Rad’s” after the man who inspired it all.
“He was the one guy who was always encouraging me,” said Hall. “He always asked me, ‘When are you going to open your own place? When are you going to do it?'”
Unfortunately, Rad didn’t live to see Hall’s dream come to fruition. He passed away just one year before the restaurant opened.
But there are little hints of Rad throughout the space: from the walls decorated with his old wartime photos to the menu full of simple classics that the breakfast enthusiast would have thoroughly enjoyed.
“He was a ham and eggs kind of guy, so his go-to would be the traditional breakfast which is our number-one seller appropriately enough,” said Hall.
The menu is small, because the focus is on quality food that’s made from scratch. But that’s not to say Hall doesn’t spice things up.
“We try to be adventurous with some of the menu and then very traditional with other parts of it,” he said.
Some of their most popular traditional breakfast offerings include the biscuits and gravy and three-egg omelet.
For people who enjoy a bit of a twist, try the avocado toast.
“It kind of has a southwestern flair to it with chorizo and pico de gallo,” Hall said.
For lunch, the street tacos are a big hit.
“They’re small corn tortillas with braised beef, goat cheese, pico,” Hall said. “We do a breakfast version on occasion with chorizo and people really get a kick out of it.”
If you’d really like a treat, save room for soup. Over the course of his 20+ year career as a chef, homemade soups are one thing Hall said he’s been known for. Plus, you might get to try a bowl of Rad’s favorite: ham and bean.
“That’s another thing that goes back to Rad,” Hall said. “He was a big ham guy. We always have ham and bean on the menu and then I rotate a second soup… as it gets colder I may add a third.”
Aside from offering a delicious menu, rotating specials and great service, there was one other major focus for Hall when it came to establishing Rad’s.
“When the former restaurant vacated, I thought the neighborhood wanted the space to stay a breakfast restaurant and the only real improvement that I could see was needed was to be a little more accommodating towards kids,” Hall said.
Four Things You Need to Know About Rad’s:
- Rad’s is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re on the go, you must stop in and explore their case full of scratch-made pastries like cinnamon rolls or Oreo scones. Plus, you can also pre-order pies just in time for the holidays.
- Rad’s keeps their menu small because quality is key. Here it’s all about chef-driven, quality food in a low-key environment. Their breakfast and lunch offerings range from traditional favorites like biscuits and gravy to creative options like the avocado toast with a southwestern twist or street tacos.
- They’re kid friendly! Gymboree is just a few doors down and—as a father himself—Hall wanted to make sure Rad’s was a kid-friendly space. Children can enjoy coloring on the paper table cloths or chowing down on kid-approved favorites like the mac n’ cheese or confetti pancakes.
- Since Rad’s closes at 3 p.m., they can host private parties in the evening. They have done holiday parties in the past for surrounding businesses that were a hit and Hall is looking to branch out more when it comes to private event hosting at Rad’s. Another great service they offer are boxed lunch deliveries, which are popular for staff at surrounding schools and businesses.
As a dad himself, Hall knows a thing or two about what kids want.
“The kids walk in and immediately go to the bakery counter and look at the cookies, cinnamon rolls or the scones and pick out what they want,” he said.
Their kid's menu features some tried and true favorites like the confetti pancakes and mac n’ cheese.
They even incorporate one of every kid’s favorite restaurant past times: paper table cloths and crayons for doodling.
“It’s amazing some of the art we get from some of these kids,” he said. “A lot of times we keep it and hang it up in the back for them and they come back and see it.”
While great food and hospitality will always garner positive reviews, it’s that kind of thoughtfulness that makes dining at Rad’s so special. Having a meal here feels less like a restaurant and more like home.
“You can come in here on weekends and there’s kids in their pajamas,” Hall said. “It’s almost like you literally come to my house and I serve 40 people breakfast at the same time… it’s a very neighborhood-oriented thing.”
While in Carmel, check out some of these other family friendly local hot-spots: