The town of Burgaw celebrated the opening of a family-owned pizzeria Saturday with the launch of Fat Daddy’s Pizza.
Owner and operator Jay Kranchalk said the opening of the eatery at 103 W. Fremont St. was wildly busy.
“Burgaw was so excited and I think the whole town turned out,” Kranchalk said. “We sold out of dough and had to close down early and remain closed Sunday in order to restock.”
A 22-year teacher, 18 of those at Cape Fear Academy, Kranchalk joked that with everything happening right now in education, it’s a good time to open a restaurant.
Kranchalk said the idea came about through his association with Richard Johnson of Burgaw Now, an organization committed to the promotion, restoration and development of Burgaw. Kranchalk taught and coached Johnson’s children and said he was approached by Johnson to take on the project, located next to Brown Dog Coffee Company in downtown Burgaw.
“I have zero restaurant experience so this is on-the-job learning,” Kranchalk said.
The project was conceived about a year and a half ago, but a number of construction delays and then the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay in opening.
Kranchalk said that Keith and Drake Norris of Vito’s Pizza, which has locations in Wrightsville Beach and midtown Wilmington, have mentored him through the process of getting the pizzeria up and running.
“I’ve worked with them and they’ve really given me the ins and outs of the business,” Kranchalk said.
He also credits his food supplier, Anthony Eustace of Performance Foodservice, with getting him up to speed and helping him with his ingredient selection.
Fat Daddy’s serves hand-tossed pizzas made with homemade dough and sauce, to which customers can add any number of toppings.
It also offers chicken and meatball parmesan sandwiches as well as garlic knots and blueberry knots. The blueberry knots are a nod to Pender County’s blueberry industry and Burgaw’s annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival, which is usually attended by more than 30,000 people each year, according to the festival’s website.
“The blueberry knots were really popular,” Kranchalk said.
While the pizzeria may experiment with some additional menu items down the road, Kranchalk will be keeping the menu simple for now.
Online ordering for carryout is available and Kranchalk is exploring the idea of adding delivery once things are running smoothly.
The restaurant can seat about 16 customers under the current COVID-19 guidelines, and Kranchalk said he hopes to build a deck to allow for additional outdoor seating in the future.
“I really couldn’t have done this without the support of friends and family, especially my wife, Laura, and my children, Danielle and Davis,” Kranchalk said. “We’re so excited to be part of the community and look forward to getting involved in the hometown spirit of Burgaw.”
Fat Daddy’s Pizza is currently open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
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