It was worth it, and you should go. No, I'm not talking about a Miley Cyrus concert. Although her concerts probably ARE worth it... Di Fara's Pizza in Brooklyn is worth all the hype. I love sports and you hear about hyped athletes all the time. Di Fara's is no Andy Roddick. It's more like Roger Federer. Subtle, understated, and the best. If you do research on the pizza blog Slice, you can see that Di Fara's is ranked up there among the best pizzas in the U.S. High praise for sure, but the pizza backs the claims. If you have a chance to get some of this pizza, do yourself a favor and hurry up.
Located in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn, Di Fara's sits on the corner of a nondescript street. The sign outside is worn and faded. You hardly expect the best pizza in the country to be served up here. But maybe that's precisely what you need in order to have great pizza - a shop that's no frills, just about the food. On a Friday afternoon I found myself nearly alone in the place, and ready to plunk down $23 dollars for the most amazing (albeit pricey) sausage pizza that I have ever tasted.
If you are not familiar with the New York prices on premium pizza, then take a moment to suck in some air. Brace yourself. You might be put off by all the hype AND the $20 dollar price tag for a plain pie. This is just the nature of the business, the pizza is not made from Kraft cheese (no offense to y'all, I dig you for my grilled cheese). Usually I'm a huge proponent of fast food and chain restaurants. But I love Di Fara's even though it is different from what I know. Slow, careful, and meticulous, the man behind this extraordinary pizza can win you over without a word.
Dom Demarco is the proprietor of the joint, and he's the guy who makes your pizza. Be glad because he's good at his job. Hurry because the dude is 71. He's looks fragile almost, but he moves around deliberately. He wastes no motion in his pizza making routine. You get drawn in to the grace, and watching him open the oven and turn the pizza is like memorizing. The entire experience leaves you in a trance, until you eat the pizza. Then it's an awakening.
After he pulls the pizza out of the oven, two more steps are necessary. He grates some extra cheese manually with this crank, then takes the grated cheese and sprinkles it on top of your pizza. And then he scissors some fresh basil on top as well. He does all this in front of you and you see how much care he puts into the preparation. Having witnessed the process, I know the experience skewed my taste buds. My $23 dollars bought a show and a sausage pie.
The pie was perfect. Piping hot and incredibly fragrant, this pizza practically begs to be eaten. You almost want to wait because the fast you eat it, the less you'll have left. But don't wait too long. Fold that slice and experience heaven. You know sometimes when you eat a slice, you notice a deficiency or two. Maybe the crust is too thick. Maybe the bottom is too crisp. Maybe it's over loaded with cheese. An imperfect pizza has glaring traits. At Di Fara's? You're just happy. The perfect ratio of sauce to cheese to crust. And the sauce has great balance so it's not too acidic or too sweet. The basil on top lends to the mouthwatering fragrance of the pizza. You'll finish three slices before you realize, "Dude. I only have five left. I gotta save this."
Dom ain't getting any younger. Watching him make the pies that afternoon, I can't help but wonder if there are only so many pies left. Can he keep up the pace for 5 more years? 10 more years? Sooner or later, the dude is gonna wanna kick back, relax, and not make pizzas all day. One last note about pizza enjoyment at Di Fara's. I only waited 30 minutes for my pizza. There were only two people in front of me in line and it was not hectic at all. This definitely skewed my experience. If I had to wait an hour to order and then an hour for the pizza... then I would have probably hated the experience.
Was this an amazing pizza? Yes. Could I recommend waiting over an hour for it? Tough to say but I'm not sure any food is worth that kind of wait. If you can do during off hours, give Di Fara's a shot. And is it just me or does he wear that same shirt in almost every single picture of him? Someone get that man a new shirt.
Di Fara Pizzeria
1424 Avenue J.
New York, NY 11230
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