Thursday, January 7, 2010
Old School Brooklyn Pizza: Di Fara
Plastered on the walls of the smoky interior of a little pizza joint in the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn are years of praise lavishly bestowed on Domenico DeMarco, proprietor and still principal pizza preparer. Since 1964, DeMarco has stood guard over the gargantuan oven with dough in hand.
So why is the joint called Di Fara when it has always been DeMarco as the stalwart pizza maven? His original business partner was named Farina, and a portmanteau of their names became the famous Di Fara.
Now most people who pride themselves on NY pizza perspicacity will have much to say about Di Fara, but outside the NY circle, large as it may be, Di Fara has not reached the fame of some of the other pizza places. I theorize that this has nothing to do with the quality of the pizza, but rather on the refusal for DeMarco to scale up his operation. The pizza procuring procedure is Byzantine at best, and arriving with a guide is not a bad idea. After waiting the requisite wait in the line that forms outside the restaurant at all hours, make your way up to the counter and choose from the $5 slices or opt for a ~$30 pie. Someone, likely one of DeMarco's children, will write up your order on a scrap of paper and simply call you when it's ready. The additional wait for the pizza could take quite awhile, but you should make sure you return in time, lest your pizza be presented to another patron.
$5 for a slice of pizza. Expensive, yes, but Di Fara doesn't fail to bring in the crowd. Since I didn't make the trip out to Brooklyn too often, I had a slice of the thin, a slice of the deep-dish, and another thin crust pie. While utterly delicious, the pizza was undeniably oily. And though DeMarco might be making each pie himself, there were issues with consistency. Some crust comes out burnt, some too soft. The ingredients are tossed on capriciously by hand, though I'll admit there might be some sort of strategic topping placement that I didn't perceive. As you can see, the pizza is not much to behold, and from experience, I can tell you that next morning cold Di Fara's isn't nearly as appetizing.
Given the long wait, hassle of ordering, cost, and inconsistency, I can see why Di Fara is often a hit or miss for pizza pilgrims. Still, if you're comparing the best pies in town, you can't leave out Di Fara as a contender.
1424 Ave J
Brooklyn, NY 11230