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Jun 18, 2006 10:50 PM

Di Fara disappointment

  • j

So my husband and I were visiting a friend in Midwood today and we decided to take the opportunity to try a pizza at Di Fara. We were ready to taste heavenly pizza and tell our chowhound-y friends that we had made one of the stops on the NYC chow trail of fame. But this was not to be...

We got to the place around 6:30pm. It was pretty busy - about 3 people were ahead of us with orders and a line quickly developed behind us. After about 10 minutes, Dom turned to us and took our order for a mushroom pizza. We repaired to one of the tables in the back with cold drinks for a wait. We had heard from these boards that the wait can be long, so we were expecting it. We waited about 45 minutes and saw those ahead of us in line depart with their pizzas. Fine, no problem. Then we saw some of those who had ordered after us get their pizzas. Hmmm - what's up with that? So my husband and I went to the counter and told Dom's son that we had ordered a while ago. We didn't really catch any conversation they had about it, but it seemed clear that our order had fallen through the cracks. Again - fine, no problem, it was getting really busy, so we understand. But then - nothing. A number of new pies went into the oven, but not ours. My husband was not happy. We asked again - "any news on our mushroom pizza?" - nothing. In the end, we got some slices and ate them, but the service had left a sour taste in our mouth that no amount of heavenly pizza could surmount.

There is no way I will get my husband to go back to try again, but I would like to know if anyone else has had this kind of experience, in case I make a visit with other friends. Were we wrong to order a whole pie? Were we wrong to order mushrooms? I hadn't gotten this from previous postings, but is this another case of a grumpy owner who decides that he doesn't like you and gives you bad service to get you out? If this is the case, what could we have done to tick them off?

If we had gotten a pizza in regular time and it was terrible, I don't think I would be as disappointed as I was with the service we got today. Bad Chow Day.

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  1. Heh heh. You obviously haven't been following the threads closely enough. When you order a Pie you stay there and watch Dom make it..Do not retreat to the tables for enjoyment. You stand and wait and make sure Dom makes it and then you will achieve enlightenment....

    2 Replies
    1. re: Venom

      Well said, Venom. I'm not even going to talk about ordering strategies, frustation with lines/"lost" pies or which topping is best. I love Dom's pies and, of course, love eating them. Call me crazy but one of my best DiFara's experiences consisted of taking an hour train ride and deciding not to eat, but rather stand counterside watching him ply his craft.

      Keep on smokin',
      Joey Deckle

      1. re: Joey Deckle

        Just think, for most of the show you're looking at his posterior.

        Incredible...a contact high on Dom (or maybe there is something about his mushroom pies).

    2. does anyone understand that difara's is JUST a pizzeria? a good one, but JUST a pizzeria, not a restaurant. give them a break!

      2 Replies
      1. re: mag

        Regardless, I have to agree w/ the OP. When you place your order, you kinda EXPECT it to arrive...having it fall through the cracks is unacceptable. Very busy pizzeria's usually use those yellow legal pads and write each order down. It's a practice DiFara's should employ. (along with a cleaning person for those communal tables). I still like Dom and his pizza. Viva L'Italia.

        1. re: mag

          A pizzeria IS a restaurant.

        2. Its ok to be disappointed and its ok to expect more, but it is a pizzeria. Dom is not grumpy but he can get frazzled, it seems to take a little bit of effort to get him worked up, more likely it's the chaos of the customers that will confuse him (and his children) I have had orders fall through the cracks, and I go about once a month and spend $30 to $50 everytime...

          Convince your (sensitive) hubby to try again - tell dom what happened the last time you ordered, (happens to the best of us) and be prepared to forgive. Actually you wont have a choice.

          1. Reactions to service and hygiene issues at DiFara are unpredictable, in my experience, but over time, I've decided not to encourage people to try again if they are irritated by the long time it takes to get pizzas. I've never had a completely lost pizza, but I don't think it's a crazy reaction not to want to wait an hour or want a cleaner environment.

            It just isn't my reaction. I brought a visitor from Japan, a young woman, to DiFara's and she was utterly charmed by the experience. She loved watching Dom work, loved the crowd and all the angry, impatient customers. And she loved the pizza.

            So I wouldn't try to coerce your husband to go. But don't let that keep you from going!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Dave Feldman

              I tend to agree with Dave's take, and would simply add that you have to be both vigilant and assertive at DiFara's when it's busy. Also, I love the mushrooms, but I've decided they make for a watery round slice, as you may have discovered.

            2. Just to clarify, it wasn't the length of the wait that was frustrating - it was the (non) reaction that we got when we reminded them of our order. After waiting 45 minutes for the pizza that was lost in the shuffle, we did stand at the counter after our first reminder for about an hour. We were front and center, almost chanting "mushroom? mushroom?" for a pizza that never came to be.
              A pizzeria is a restaurant, no? Actually, some of the best service I have gotten in food establishments is from pizza places, so I think that trail of argument is a non-starter.

              7 Replies
              1. re: JulesNYC

                "In the end, we got some slices and ate them, but the service had left a sour taste in our mouth that no amount of heavenly pizza could surmount." Sour taste aside, what did you think of the pizza? I think you got the ultimate first time DiFara's experience. This is what a true "chowhound" place is all about. It's much more than pizza, it's an experience. Now, go back and get that mushroom pie!!!!

                1. re: sg

                  I liked the toppings - sauce was tasty, cheeses were good, herbs a nice touch. The crust was okay (not charred as discussed in other threads), but disintegrated in the middle where the toppings were.

                  Not to be blasphemous, but I like Grimaldi's on the whole better, mainly because I love their crust and the overall texture of their pizza. If you could put DF's toppings on the Grimaldi's crust, now THAT would be a pizza to talk about! I guess I'll have to pull out the pizza pan I have at home and try to make my own approximation in the old home kitchen.

                  1. re: JulesNYC

                    I've had awful waiting experiences at DiFaras' the last three or four times I visited and as a result, I haven't been back since last December - some sort of record for me. The pizza's still great, though. I am a long-time regular customer and I've been going to Difara's long before he was "discovered".

                    The very last time I was there, I waited for two and a half hours before my pie was made. I called in my order and was told that the wait would be about an hour. I got there about 30 min. after I called, figuring I'd only be there for about another 30 min. -- and waited another two hours. Now I'm a very reasonable person, and I understand that there's a margin of error when Maggie sez: "about an hour for the wait". But something is very wrong when she's off by 250%! And yeah, there were others that got their pizza even though they clearly put their orders in an hour or an hour and a half after me. I don't mind waiting two hours for a pizza but that's only provided that I'm told that the wait is gonna be about two hours so that I can make an informed decision to wait two hours and also, provided that everyone else is also waiting about two hours. Fair is fair.

                    My visit just before the last was similar. Ordered at the counter and waited about two hours. After about an hour I noticed that people after me were getting their pies - and in 45 minutes - no less.

                    It's a major flaw and it's inexcusable. When 20 or 30 people pack the tiny joint, all waiting, there has to be some order. It's only fair. Nobody wants to wait two hours if nobody else is waiting two hours and other customers are being served in less than one hour. Maybe Dom should start taking numbers or writing 'em down.

                    1. re: nolan49

                      I've never been there- but this place sounds like a nightmare. No pizza is worth the aggravation and stress so many people have described. I can think of other ways to earn my merit badge for patience.

                    2. re: JulesNYC

                      Just FYI in case you do go back, the mushroom is not a safe bet. I once ordered a mushroom pie and it was amazing—topped with firm, delicious mushrooms that seemed to be roasted. Then twice after that, I ordered mushroom and they were soggy and more or less wrecked the pie. I think the best topping is the fresh artichokes (ask if they're fresh) or broccoli rabe. Also, try the square pie. It does not have the problem of sogging in the middle.

                      1. re: Gnosh

                        if you get mushrooms, go for the porcini.

                      2. re: JulesNYC

                        You should try the artichoke slice or ... WHOLE PIE. Heaven on earth.