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Madisons Pizza: An inspired one-man show

No stranger to the restaurant business, longtime Outer Banks resident Bryan Pond decided to take a leap of faith and open his own pizzeria in February of this year. After working alongside local chefs, Pond decided it was his turn to run the show, with a little inspiration by his side.

Madisons Pizza, Pond’s newly opened shop, was named in honor of his 10-year-old daughter. Madison will be entering fifth grade this school year at Nags Head Elementary. As she sat next to her dad inside the quiet kitchen before the shop opened for business on a recent Wednesday, Madison told The Coastland Times that she is Pond’s “inspiration.”

“She’s my motivation,” Pond said as he looked at Madison. “It’s not about me anymore.”

Pond moved to the area in 1993 and starting working at the original Stone Oven. “The owner of that, I attested, taught me most of what I know,” Pond shared. He worked his way up in the industry at a couple of other local pizza restaurants before finally taking a mini “life vacation” two years ago.

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The inside of Madisons Pizza, where Bryan Pond runs his one-man show pizzeria. Danielle Puleo photo

“When I left there [Pizzazz], I just hung out. I remembered why I moved here; it wasn’t just to work.” He spent a lot of time with Madison, hanging by the beach and making the most of their days.

Pond then signed the lease for Madisons back in March of 2019. After being delayed, he finally got rolling in February with the shop, right before COVID-19 hit the area.

Despite facing challenges with the food supply and establishing Madisons in the middle of the pandemic, Pond said his business plan, thankfully, played out. “It was just going to be pickup and delivery,” he said. Due to the spotty business to start, Pond decided to just have pickup service available, which worked out well with executive orders.

The most unique thing about Madisons Pizza is that Pond is truly a one-man show. “I like the fact that I don’t have any employees; the business is so hit and miss. To have someone in here with the way I run around, it’s hard for me to tell people what to do,” Pond said. From the minute he opens at noon to the second he closes at 9 p.m., Pond works by himself, prepping ingredients and preparing the meals, taking orders, interacting with his customers and doing his best to make sure everyone leaves satisfied.

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Bryan Pond makes fresh dough every day, ready to serve his customers alongside freshly made sauce and hand-picked ingredients. Danielle Puleo photo

All menu items are freshly prepared with Pond’s handmade sauce and dough. There are some fan favorites, like the traditional Margherita, Meat Lover’s and Hawaiian pizzas, all with a little spin on the classics. Then there are the one-of-a-kind concoctions.

“All these on the bottom are my creations,” Pond said, gesturing to the lower half of the specialty pizza menu, where several inspired menu items were listed. The Taco Pizza, with fresh salsa, cheese, seasoned beef, tortilla chips, Roma tomatoes and arugula, catches the attention of many, along with the Buffalo Chicken, which is topped with buffalo sauce, cheese, red onions, chicken breast and crumbled bleu cheese.

Another unique pie gracing the menu is what Pond calls the “Meatball Supremo.” Classic red sauce meets ricotta, with a cheese blend of mozzarella and provolone, sliced meatballs, fresh spinach and red onions. Madisons also offers other staples like wings, sub sandwiches and sides. Each made every day by Pond, with his combined 20 plus years of experience and personal twists.

“This is me, no one else from start to finish, it’s my gut,” said Pond. That, according to Pond, is what gets him through.

He does take one day off a week, to spend with Madison. “I only get to see dad on Mondays, so almost every single Monday we go to the beach,” said Madison. “I like to boogie board a lot and my dad’s going to teach me how to surf.”

Pond said that while school was still in session, he would pick up Madison at the end of the school day and take her to the shop to hang out. However, once COVID-19 became a concern, he decided to keep her unexposed to customers and chose to keep his distance to ensure her safety for about a month.

“It was finally her birthday, so I had to get my hug,” Pond said. Madison turned 10 on May 10 and has been able to spend quality time with her dad once a week since then.

With its simple menu, chic interior and inspired name, Madisons Pizza is already attracting the attention of many. To learn more about Madisons, visit www.facebook.com/madisons.pizza. The restaurant is located in the shopping center at 3022 S. Croatan Hwy. in Nags Head.

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