NYC Food Highlight #1: Di Fara Pizza

Our favorite meal in New York on this trip was returning to Di Fara Pizza in Midwood, Brooklyn and eating pizza made with love by Domenico “Dom” DeMarco. The last time we were at Di Fara’s, we waited three and a half hours to get our pizza. This time we didn’t have to wait as long because as luck would have it, we went unknowingly on a Yankee’s game night.

When we got to Di Fara’s 30 minutes before they opened up for dinner, there was already a small line. But from the time we got in the line to the time we got our pizza, it was only 45 minutes. Thank you Yankee’s fans for staying at home to watch the game. It was really nice to have had the more mellow Di Fara experience because it allowed us to shake Mr. Dom DeMarco’s hands and thank him personally for the pizza, and to get to eat our pizza slowly without feeling like we had give our seats up to the constant influx of people walking through the doors.

Hailed as the “Godfather of Brooklyn Pizza,” Domenico DeMarco, an Italian immigrant, has been making every single pizza in his shop for over 45 years. For him, making pizza is a labor of love, and you see it when you watch him in action. He doesn’t even take a break while he works. When we were at Di Fara’s years ago, during the four hours we were there, we didn’t see him so much as stop to drink a glass of water. Although five of his seven children work for him, he is still the only person in the family to make the pizza.

Is this pizza worth the three-hour wait? Is it worth the hefty price? In our opinion, yes. The pizza is delicious, but it’s not just about how the pizza tastes. It’s the entire experience. It’s about being in a buzzing room full of other die-hard pizza lovers. It’s about eating pizza made by the hands of someone who won’t even allow his own kids to touch the pizza. It’s about pizza made slowly, with such attention and care, at the pizza master’s pace as he sees fit. It’s just something you can’t experience anywhere else (which is also why we’re a bit horrified they’re opening up a second location in Las Vegas because it just won’t be the same). We haven’t had as much New York pizza experience as this man, but we agree with this recent article.

Another great thing about this Di Fara night was that we struck up a conversation with two awesome young New Yorkers when they needed our help opening their wine bottle. One gal was Di Fara’s biggest fan who’s been to Di Fara’s numerous time, a working-class New Yorker who saves up her money to eat Di Fara pizzas whenever she can. She agreed with me by saying “Di Fara’s is not just about eating pizza, it’s a food experience.” When we asked her what she thinks of Grimaldi’s since we never tried their pizza, she rolled her eyes in such an animated way like “how could you even utter those blasphemous words here?” and then continued to scoff at Grimaldi’s.

What we loved about these girls (pictured sitting far left) was they were just so exuberant about life. They talked to us about how they didn’t understand the spoiled and lazy mentality of their peers. We only met them this night, but these no-nonsense, down-to-earth gals certainly left an impression on us.

Our little camera doesn’t work in low light, which is a shame because I really wanted to get a better photo of these two.

To learn about Mr. DeMarco in his own words, watch this wonderful short video about the man who loves and creates pizza like no one else.

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