After months of procrastinating, I finally made my pilgrimage to Di Fara Pizza in Midwood, Brooklyn yesterday. Needless to say, it lived up to it's hype.
I got to Avenue J at 11:30 A.M. (the only reason there isn't a massive line in the picture) and waited a half-hour for the doors to open. For those that visit Di Fara religiously, this post won't be anything new; for everyone else, educate yourself on one of the best pizzerias New York has to offer. Period.
Domenic "Dom" DeMarco (above) is the stuff pizza legends are made of. Originally from Italy near Naples, Dom is now 72 and has been making pizza for 50 years (45 @ Di Fara). And he makes every single pie himself. The guy is a legend.
Let me say that one more time: Dom makes every pie himself. In the day and age of franchises, delivery, slice reheats and pre-made pizzas, one man making every pie to order, to perfection, is nearly unheard of. The guy is a machine; he doesn't sit or even eat until the day is over. So what makes his pizza so special? No one truly knows but him.
By this I mean Dom has yet to pass his pizza-making knowledge onto any of his three children/employees. No one touches the pies but him and the customer; he even cuts them himself. Every time someone places an order, a fresh piece of dough is brought out and all the toppings are prepared fresh specifically for that order.
There he is grating the cheese for my pie. How he's able to prep pizzas, check on the pies already in the oven, and garnish the finished ones all by himself is totally beyond me. It also probably has something to do with the typical two-hour lines that amass outside (not exaggerating).
This is what a Di Fara pizza looks like fresh out of the oven. Where most places would say "voila!" and start slicing, Dom is only halfway done his masterpiece. Fresh out, he then sprinkles a handful of Padano cheese, drizzles some more olive oil, then snips some fresh basil on top with his old pair of scissors.
Ask anyone who's been to Di Fara before, and they'll tell you watching Dom make a pizza is nothing short of awe-inspiring and life-changing. Those standing by in painful anticipation of their order watch the man work in total silence. Here's what the finished (plain) pie looks like:
Wow. Truly a piece of art. Uniform divinity in a round, edible form. How gorgeous does the melted grated cheese look?
It looks like cross-hatching on a beautiful charcoal drawing. My words are fruitless; no amount of description or photographs does Dom's pizza justice.
Is it worth the wait? Absolutely. The $5/slice price tag? It's pushing it, but Adam @ Slice makes a good point to order a full pie @ $25 and save some dough. My one and only complaint about Di Fara's pizza, and I know I'll catch some flack for this, is the exorbitant amount of oil added. Sure a nice drizzle of EVOO can enhance a pie, but Dom hit mine with a double-dose (once before and once after the oven), making the pizza extremely soupy.
I'll let it slide; the pizza is out-of-this-world, it's food escapism. If you haven't already, try a slice, and for a moment you may just forget where you are and slip into pizza heaven.