Hiding in plain sight, on a remote corner in Midwood Brooklyn, surrounded by bodegas, and nondescript chain stores stands the heart of pizza in America. It was hardly an overnight success, but few can remember a time when Di Fara Pizzeria wasn’t the slice all others would be judged against.
In the past decade Di Fara has been the subject of countless articles, blogs, and accolades. This one time neighborhood pizzeria became the fabled Di Fara and its maestro Dom DeMarco, America’s pizzaiolo.
He is praised for his methodology and insistence on using only top quality ingredients, even though it has made his slice the most expensive slice of pizza in the Country. The press has brought the masses to his door but Dom holds true to his belief that each pie requires his individual attention.
When wholesale prices skyrocketed and others sourced cheaper ingredients, which made way for a chain of dollar slice joints, Dom continued to elevate New York pizza from a mere afterthought to destination dinning.
Though at times waits are in the hours, with intermissions during the day, and record prices, there is a method to this madness. Dom it seems pays little attention to food cost, quantity over quality, and mass production. He simply sources the best ingredients and crafts each individual pie, as it is meant to be.
Even after the post Neapolitan pizza invasion took captive our minds and stomachs, Di Fara remained a critic and consumer favorite.
Some might say this is a purely American pizza, and I couldn’t disagree more. Is very much an Italian pizza, made to order, by a single hand. Even the afternoon intermissions evoke memories of Napoli. Dom has expertly crafted the perfect fusion of American and Italian principals, ingredients, and flavors.
Even the diehard Neapolitan pizzaiolo agree that Dom’s style is something special.
The massive amounts of press received could fill the Colosseum, leading to a frenzy of fans, curious onlookers, and devoted followers to storm the pizzeria five days a week.
Some say the pizza is sublime, others pan the long waits and crowded storefront. I cannot imagine New York, nor America’s pizza landscape without the maestro of Avenue J.
For years I would tell anyone who would listen about his Sicilian pie. Possibly the best I have ever tasted, a rich and intense pizza, charred at the ends but perfectly soft in the center. Every bite is a meaningful taste of Italy’s milky cheeses, sweetest tomatoes, and fruity oil. It is an unexpected joy in an unexpected place.
Dom knew the slice had greater potential and more prestige than others dared to give it, so he championed to make it just as important as its Neapolitan counterpart.
If you have not been, or its been a while since, block off a couple of hours, forgo expectations, grab some friends and your favorite pizza wine, and head to Di Fara. Attempt to grab a chair, or even a table. I prefer the countertops, shoulder to shoulder with eager onlookers watching Dom lost in is art as he continues to make pizza the only way he knows how, with heart.
In a City full of the unexpected, Di Fara continues to shine, and thankfully continues to be an experience unlike any other.