"We'll Even Stomp On Some Grapes For You": A Baltimore Eats Q and A With Stephanie Hershkovitz of Hersh's Pizza And Drinks

Carrie Murphy

Doing anything tonight? No? Well then, you should get yourself down to Hersh's Pizza And Drinks. The charming pizza place/bar in Federal Hill has been open for about a year now, and it's one of our favorite places to kick back with a pie and a brew. But the pizza, beer and cocktails at Hersh's aren't like those at your regular neighborhood sports bar: Hersh's offerings are a few notches about the rest. Think housemade grenadine and mozzarella, fresh basil, and dill aioli. We talked to co-owner Stephanie Hershkovitz about what makes Hersh's a special place to grab a slice. 


What made you decide to open Hersh's Pizza And Drinks?

 My brother Josh and I always liked to cook for our friends and booze 'em up. I got sick of being a lawyer (in truth, I was sick of being a lawyer the day I started practicing) and a space opened up by Josh's old digs, and we just decided to do it. That space ended up falling through, as did the following space, but the third time is sometimes the proverbial charm. 


You own the restaurant with your brother, who runs the kitchen. How is it running a family-owned restaurant?? (I know that's kind of vague, so just feel free to interpret that however you'd like!) 

It's a standard brother-sister relationship. We wrestle and yell epithets at each other all day, and he threatens to throw me in the wood-burning oven. 


You've been open almost a year now. Any highlights of your experience as a new restaurant owner?

I love when guests put their blind faith in me and let me pick their entire meal. . . I wanted to open a restaurant in which that was the only possibility but my brother's response to that idea was, 'You want people to eat here, right?' 


What's your favorite drink at Hersh's?

That's tough. We hired our bartender Jamaal because we're both cocktail whores, if you'll pardon my French.  I tasked him with using up some Chivas we inherited with the restaurant, and he combined it with Dubonnet Rouge, honey and red pepper flakes to make an updated take on the Rob Roy. We call it the Bob Roy and it's divine. 

What's your favorite meal at Hersh's?

Salt cod fritters; heirloom tomatoes on housemade foccacia with black pepper aioli; prosciutto-wrapped treviso with a bit of balsamic reduction and grana padano; and either a margherita pizza with eggplant (I love our eggplant because it's fried but not breaded, so you can actually taste the eggplant) or our very traditional housemade tagliolini with clams, white wine, lemon, butter and a bit of red pepper, to which I am positively addicted. We have some great desserts like fresh fried lemon rosemary doughnuts, but I might forgo them for a Fernando, which is a cocktail made with the Italian digestifs Fernet Branca and Galliano. 


Anything else Baltimore Eats readers should know about eating at Hersh's Pizza And Drinks?

We make it all from scratch here. . . from mozzarella, sausage, focaccia and pasta to grenadine and lemonade. We'll even stomp on some grapes for you if you'd like.

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