If Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives fame has taught us one thing about where to find good food, it’s that a white table cloth and fancy setting isn’t needed for a great dining experience.
Max’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Kill Devil Hills proves that point with emphasis.
That does not mean that Max’s is a dive. It absolutely is not. Rather it has a very comfortable feel to it—sort of a cross between a diner, pizzeria, and family Italian eatery.
Most importantly, what it has is some amazing food.
The restaurant started it’s life in Kitty Hawk in 2014 as Max’s Real Pizza, and it was great pizza. Still is great pizza. Nothing has changed on that front at all.
What has changed is the location, now in the Dare Center in Kill Devil Hills Max’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria.
The new location is bigger and with that bigger restaurant comes a much larger kitchen—a kitchen that allows Chef Grant Sharp to really spread his creative wings.
Grant is in every sense of the word a classically trained chef. Anyone who graduates from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris is, by definition, classically trained and yes, Grant is a Cordon Bleu graduate.
He is an artist with food. Some artists paint on canvas; some chip away at marble. For Grant, food is the canvas or marble of his creative side and what comes out of the kitchen are memorable foods.
Every evening there is a daily special and those are worth checking out. No way to know just what they will be. To a large extent it’s based on the chef’s mood, but as an example of what may be available…
On the night we were there, Grant went with beef shoulder medallions with a risotto. The beef was done perfectly, the risotto creamy and wonderful. The sauce seemed to be a reduction, maybe from the beef or beef and wine. Hard to say, but it was light, yet hardy enough to stand up to the beef.
We also ordered the linguine with clam sauce. It comes with a white or red sauce so we opted for the white.
The beef medallions with risotto was spectacular. As was the linguine. Perfectly al dente, loaded with clams sautéed with garlic and onions, it was wonderful.
The dinner menu is small—maybe focused is the word to use here. Although Sharp can create food in almost any style, he’s keeping his focus on Italian classics, and making sure everything is freshly prepared.
As a result, what comes out of the kitchen is food the way it is supposed to be prepared and presented.
In the past, we have tried his lasagna, and that too is high in the list of outstanding foods. And the homemade manicotti—spectacular.
A few years ago, we reviewed Max’s Pizza, when it was in the Kitty Hawk location. Nothing has changed in our view of the pizza. It is still made only with the finest and freshest ingredients available. The dough is hand-tossed and made fresh daily. The calzone and Stromboli are every bit as good as the pizza.
The front end is run by Grant’s wife, Natalya and it reflects her personality. The service is professional, friendly and just a little bit informal but very comfortable.
Winter hours can vary just a bit so call ahead or check them out online to see when Max’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria is open.