Bill Golden, who opened the doors to Dare Devil’s Pizzeria in Kill Devil Hills in 1987, is celebrating his 31st summer making pizza — and he knows a thing or two about consistency.
“Not much is new. We kinda like it like that,” Golden deadpans when asked about menu updates for the summer season. “We’ve got the same dough, the same sauce. If it works, don’t break it. Is that how that goes?” he asks, with a slight giggle.
That is exactly how it goes and why so many locals as well as visiting families make DDP on the beach road their pizza place of preference. “We have that same, small town feel that brings families back year after year,” Golden says. “We have good old favorites. Even our manager, John Voight, has been here over 20 years. We like to keep it clean and simple.”
That they do, and he is right. Things haven’t changed much at all in the three decades that I have been eating there. Golden and his wife Ellen are the parents of two, are active community volunteers, and are long time beach residents who understand the need for a restaurant where the whole family feels comfortable. That is what they have created. This is what works. Originally only open during season, they now stay open year round, though with limited hours in the off-season.
According to Golden, folks are pretty consistent with their orders, too, and the most popular good-old-favorite is the Crazy Greek Pizza with a white garlic sauce, feta, diced tomato, a dusting of oregano, and lots of spinach. The Crazy Greek happens to be my favorite; the small is the perfect size to pick up and eat at a busy beach access parking lot; on a busy day, it is fun to enjoy lunch and a show.
They also make a variety of specialty pies such as Make Your Mama Proud with onion, green pepper, mushroom, tomato and black olives. The Massive Meats pizza with pepperoni, sausage, beef and ham, the BBQ Chicken with cheese, chicken, bacon, BBQ sauce, and onions, and the Three Amigos with baked chili, cheese and onion, topped with crisp lettuce, fresh tomato and grated cheese and a side of jalapeno peppers, salsa and sour cream.
Golden and staff encourage building your own pie from a list of freshly prepped ingredients. You can also wrap these same ingredients inside a traditional stromboli. Made with their homemade pizza dough, a blend of cheese, and stromboli sauce, this is like a folded over pizza, sealed, and baked until the edges are crispy and the ingredients melty. One of Sweetie’s favorites is the Super Steak Stromboli with thinly sliced, grilled rib-eye steak, onion, mushroom, green pepper, cheese and stromboli sauce. Cravable.
Salad, subs, Scooby snacks and lasagna with a side salad round out the menu. Chicken wings are popular and everything is available for eat-in or take-out. A full bar, several beers on tap, and a simple wine list are available.
Upon reflection, Golden says with a sly smile, some things do change, “we now have gluten-free pizza.”