Di Fara Pizza
|Di Fara Pizza|
The facade of Di Fara Pizza
|Current owner(s)||Domenico DeMarco|
|Street address||1424 Avenue J (between East 14th Street and East 15th Street)|
|Other locations||Las Vegas|
Di Fara Pizza is a pizzeria located at 1424 Avenue J (between East 14th Street and East 15th Street) in the Midwood section of Brooklyn, New York. The restaurant has been owned and operated by Domenico DeMarco since 1964.
The New York Times called the restaurant: "one of the most acclaimed and sought-after pizza shops in New York City". Di Fara has been labeled the "Best... pizza in New York" several times by many publications, including New York and the online publication Serious Eats.
Chef Anthony Bourdain called the restaurant's pizza: "the best of the best." In 2011, Zagats gave the restaurant the top pizza restaurant food rating in New York City, and in 2013, Frommer's called its pizza "the Best Hand-Made Pizza in New York City".
DeMarco opened Di Fara after emigrating from the Province of Caserta, Italy, in 1959.
"I'm 69 years old. I've been in Brooklyn since 1959. I'm from Provincia di Caserta in Italy, near Napoli. When I got here, I spent three months in Long Island, in Huntington, working on a farm... then somebody put a bug in my head and said there's a good spot on Avenue J. I didn't even know Avenue J existed. So I come over here with my accountant on a Saturday night, and this corner was for rent. It was so crowded, the street. So I take the phone number, I call the landlord, and he says to come see me Sunday, make sure you bring a deposit.When I opened the store, my partner's name was Farina. My name is DeMarco. So when the lawyer made the paper, he put the two names together. Di Fara. Di for me, and Fara for him. I bought my partner out in 1978, I think. I kept the same name; I didn't bother changing it." ~Domenico DeMarco for The New York Times. July 18, 2004 
Each pizza pie is handmade by the elderly DeMarco, with slicked back hair and flour on his shoes, and the pizzeria is closed when he is not available. As he puts it: "I believe only one guy should make the pizza.” Three of his seven children work in the back of the restaurant.
He makes 100 to 150 pies a day, cutting fresh basil over the pies with a pair of kitchen scissors. DeMarco uses imported ingredients: flour, extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese from Casapulla, Italy, freshly grated grana padana (a slightly salty hard cow's milk cheese), three types of mozzarella cheese, and hand-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are all from Italy, and the basil and oregano is from Israel. He has a sunny windowsill box in which he grows thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, and hot peppers.
The pizzas bake for a few minutes at about 800 degrees Fahrenheit. The pizza is thin-crust and crispy, slightly shy of burnt, with a thin layer of savory, subtle, tangy sauce. It is served on a paper plate, over a sheet of wax paper.
He serves classic New York-style pizza and Sicilian-style square pies.
The non-descript restaurant is located on a "no frills" Brooklyn street, next to a 99 cent store. The 15-seat, decades-old pizzeria has a worn linoleum tile floor, harsh fluorescent lights, and the same Baker's Pride oven DeMarco bought when he first opened. Crowds are known to form at the counter and spill onto the sidewalk outside, as the wait can be as long as one to two hours.
In his 1998 book The Eclectic Gourmet Guide to Greater New York City, Jim Leff called the sauce used by the restaurant:
a restrained, low profile masterpiece of optimal acidity and spicing (bolstered by a goodly shake of black pepper). Like everything here it's delicious in a magically old-fashioned way.
Fame for Di Fara came in 1999 when The Village Voice, a popular New York City publication, put him on its cover and proclaimed it as one of the "Best Italian restaurants". From that point and going forward, Di Fara has been regarded as a top pizzeria by many established publications, including the Daily News. Di Fara has received many awards, and has been labeled the "Best... pizza in New York" several times by many publications, including New York and the online publication Serious Eats.
In 2007, chef Anthony Bourdain called the restaurant's pizza: "the best of the best." In 2008, The Village Voice wrote that: "The best pizza in all New York is at Di Fara's", and Zagats gave it a food rating of 27, placing it among the top 15 restaurants of any type in New York City.
The New York Times wrote in 2009 that Di Fara is "one of the most acclaimed and sought-after pizza shops in New York City". In 2011, Zagats gave the restaurant a food rating of 27, the top pizza restaurant food rating in New York City. That year, the New York Daily News readers rated it the #1 pizza in the city.
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