January 17, 2007
Fat Daddy’s Pizza starts with great crustSANTA ROSA BEACH – The foundation of every great pizza is its crust.
Thick, medium and thin crusts all have their benefits, but to work, they need to taste great.
Fat Daddy’s Pizza, located in the heart of Santa Rosa Beach on U.S. U.S. Highway 98 between County Roads 30A and 393, has a crust that tastes great.
The medium hand-tossed crust is crisp on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside. It is thick around the edges from billowy air pockets rather than too much bread. And it is thinner in the middle, but never too crunchy.
The texture is just right for holding sauce and copious amounts of toppings without falling apart or breaking. The exception to the usual crust is the taco pizza with its thin, super crisp crust.
Along with the crust, great pizza needs the right sauce. At Fat Daddy’s, the tomato sauce is simple. It is not sweet or overly seasoned. It adds bright flavor while complementing the toppings, rather than competing with them. For flavor variety pesto, alfredo and barbecue sauces are also offered.
And the toppings are generous. Fat Daddy’s belongs to the more-ismore school of pizza making. These are not authentic Italian pizzas with thin crusts and judicious amounts of fancy toppings (which I also love). These are fully loaded, dripping with cheese pizzas, where the toppings outweigh the crust.
All the expected toppings, such as pepperoni, mushrooms, peppers, olives, Italian sausage and onions, are offered. Some welcome extras include meatballs, basil and jalapenos. Toppings listed in the gourmet section include Feta, pineapple, artichokes, spinach, shrimp, steak, grilled chicken and garlic.
You can build your own pizza or choose from one of the specialty pizzas on the menu. I like the barbecue chicken pizza. It has a sweet barbecue sauce, red onion, chicken, and mozzarella and Cheddar cheese. I am also a fan of the chicken pesto for its bold basil flavor.
From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily, Fat Daddy’s has a buffet that features a continually changing selection of freshly prepared pizza (a salad bar and beverage are also included). At $6.95, it is an amazing deal, and is the best way to try several of the specialty pizzas without having to order too much. Because the buffet is so popular, the pizza is replenished constantly so there is always something straight out of the oven.
Fat Daddy’s uses that good pizza dough for a few other items as well. A calzone filled with mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta and Parmesan is a good choice. It can be filled with toppings from the pizza menu for an additional charge.
Garlic breadsticks and cheese bread sticks work well with a salad or sandwich, and cinnamon breadsticks (served with sweetened butter) are a sweet treat any time.
Salads include a house salad, Greek salad, and chef’s salad. All start with crisp cold lettuce.
Sandwich options are meatball, steak, chicken pesto and a pizza sub. I was partial to the steak sandwich with mushrooms, onions, green pepper and mozzarella, but also enjoyed the meatball.
The menu lists cheesecake and chocolate pie as desserts, but I would opt for the freshly made warm, soft cinnamon bread sticks if I had any room for dessert.
While the pizza is outstanding, the décor is basic. Tables and chairs (or booths) provide functional seating. A few televisions broadcast sports shows, and an arcade is at the rear of the restaurant for additional entertainment.
Fat Daddy’s is about pizza, not atmosphere.
That said, the staff at Fat Daddy’s are excellent. They feed a lot of people quickly, and are always pleasant and friendly. They seem genuinely interested in producing a good product for their guests.
If you prefer to eat at home, Fat Daddy’s offers take-out, and has a delivery area extending from Holiday Road to Highway 393 and Old Seagrove. Whether you eat in or take out, if you are looking for great-tasting pizza that is heavy with toppings and cheese, Fat Daddy’s is sure to please.
Colleen Coffield Sachs is restaurant reviewer for the Daily News. She dines unannounced at area restaurants for this column. You may write to her in care of the newspaper at P.O. Box 2949, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549