HOME > Chowhound > Outer Boroughs >

Discussion

Di Fara - Saturday afternoon lines?

After reading many posts about the best pizza in the city, I've concluded I must eat at Di Fara's. But I've also read much about the chaotic lines (or lack thereof) and a potentially long, long wait for a pie. My schedule does not allow for a weekday visit. I’d like to go on Saturday, sometime after 12:00 noon and before 3:00. Let me admit to being somewhat impatient and definitely unwilling to kill time outdoors when it’s 35 degrees. Should I wait until warm spring weather for a Saturday lunch? Or can I get a pie within say 40 minutes of arrival in that 12:00 – 3:00 time frame?

If the consensus is I should expect a long line and postpone until the spring, what should I do for plan “B”?

Lucali?
Totonno (Coney Island location)?

Someplace else?

Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I've never been there on a Saturday...too afraid I'd go mad waiting for a slice.

    Lucali's is only open 6 to 10pm.

    Totonno's might be your best bet...but there is nothing like Dom's pizza.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pastoralia

      I think I've gone on a Saturday or Sunday and got a pie in about 50 minutes I think? IIRC, I went around 4.

      I wouldn't wait if I were you.

    2. If you hit it just right then it will work. I'd say get there for 11am and you might totally miss the lunch crowd. Totonno's has been land sliding. There's really nowhere else, but I guess Lucalli's. It did reopen, right?

      1 Reply
      1. re: JFores

        I was just at Lucali's last night...got there early (too early really) and we were the only people in the restaurant...started filling up as we left. Damn, that is some perfect pizza and calzone!

      2. Bring a book and a bottle of wine, and enjoy the wait. Honestly, its fascinating to watch Dom work. He gets into an almost zen-like state.

        Plus the pies are unbeatable.

        1. Make sure to stand at the counter the whole time. It cuts your wait in half. In fact, it could do more than that if you happen to be one of the random city-ites or tourists who come in and sit down for an hour thinking that they can leap up and go "Oh no, it's my turn!" when you're halfway through the sentences "Hey Dom, lemme get a regular pie. How are you doin'?"

          Glue yourself to the counter, even if you're reading while you do it.Also inch your way to the right and try to get somewhere around where the counter bends or a bit to the right of it so you're pretty much face to face with Dom when he cuts a pie. This makes getting an order in clearly much easier and it allows you to remind him if your pie is taking ages.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JFores

            I whole-heartedly agree with JFores: I've started using the exact same tricks he mentioned, and they work great. Although I haven' t been nearly as many times as many other chowhounders, Dom's priority list seems to go (from first-served to last): irritating complainers--> (sorry to be un-PC but this next one is definitely true) pretty/nice women-->people standing at the counter close to the ovens-->people standing at the counter close to the door-->people standing elsewhere (coolers, no-man's-land, etc.)-->people sitting down.

            Also, as long as you get inside, you'll be fine for your wait: If you don't think watching Dom work is interesting/engaging/worth-while... Well, then I feel bad for you. As mentioned earlier, your best bet is going at off-hours (11am, or if not then, btween 3 and 5pm).

            Good luck! I'm jealous that you're going to get to have a Di Fara's slice for the first time tomorrow.

            1. re: ORP

              The irritating complainers one is give and take. It's very random. I've seen irritating complainers get ignored for a very long time, but a woman also came in once and after waiting about 10 minutes said angrily "That one's mine, right!?!?" and Dom basically did a "Oooh... uh ...yeah.." Me = Not a happy camper.

              Oh well, I've done some vicious line cuts at Di Fara that I might be damned to hell for so maybe I deserve it (JFores strolls in, JFores circumvents an hilarious line thats going out the door despite the rest of the place and the whole counter being empty, JFores orders, JFores has a pie before the guy who was at the front of that line when he walked in. Yes, I'm going to hell.)

              You REALLY have to get to the oven side of the counter or you're in a bad spot. Fight for territory.

              Yes, I'm considering writing something comparable to The Art of War or The Prince for Di Fara line practices.

          2. as a die-hard DiFara's fanatic, I would encourage you to wait it out. There is little logic to the crowd, it has a mind of its own. Dom does not care, he will make pizza for 2 or 25. My only suggestion is that you could try (somehow) to go when his lovely daughter is working. She, at least, takes orders and keeps track of who was there first. Again, Dom will not help in this regard. Just try to stay in his line of vision.

            If he no see you, you no eat.

            I personally recommend the square pie with hot peppers and porcini mushrooms. But that's just me.

            1. Okay, I went and here's the outcome...

              I arrived at 2:45pm and quickly found a place at the counter edge, closest to the oven. Within ten minutes Dom's assistant (son?) asked me what I wanted - just after he had asked another person - and recorded my request on a notepad. I ordered the Di Fara Special (round pie, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms). I stood my ground and watched...and watched...and watched. Now if I wanted a slice, I would have been served within 10 minutes of arrival, possibly sooner. They seemed to have a fairly steady supply of plain pies (mostly round) available for slices. I guess that's because prior to my arrival and during my stay at the counter a regular stream of 1, 2 or 3 slice requests came in. That's good to know for future reference. I did not observe any abusive line cutters or complainers. Probably too much past lunch hour for that. It really wasn't too crowded. My brother found a table in the rear for us soon after our arrival.

              My pie made it into the oven 45 minutes after I arrived and came out 10 minutes later. From walking in the door to chewing on hot pizza: under an hour. No complaints. It was enjoyable to watch Dom make pizza. He strikes me as a very content person.

              The pie was great. I think I should have gone for a plain though. All the add-ons create excess weight and the slices have to be folded up to eat or they fall apart. Maybe they needed another minute or two in the oven for the crust to get firmer. Don't know.

              In conclusion: Great pizza. Happy I went. Will go again!

              Thank you to all on the guidance.

              3 Replies
                1. re: NYJewboy

                  I went yesterday and didn't realize the lines aren't that bad on an early weekday evening? At 5PM it was pretty slow - not sure if that is typical. It's funny to see that the pizza place on the next corner is busier with locals, although I guess it might not be practical for everyone to get a DiFara's pizza if you need dinner quickly. But still....

                  Good grief was I missing the boat by not ordering the square with no toppings (I can't call it plain). I'm now a convert to the idea that it's the only thing you should ever order.

                  They are out of peppers until Friday so don't go today if you are partial to them.

                  1. re: dark knight

                    The pizza place on the next corner is busier with locals because it's probably kosher, something I'm pretty sure DiFara's isnt. If only they knew what they were missing...

              1. went thanksgiving weekend as part of a food safari tour we were taking one of my sons college friends on. Ate before we got there in anticipation of the wait. Got there on a saturday at 3 - waited on line an hour to order then it took another hour before we got our pie. Worth the wait but agonizing at times... Delicious as usual

                1. The key is to be persistent and not be shy about asserting firmly what you want. If you hang back or try to be too polite you'll waste time, get nowhere and leave empty-handed like so many others. The process is actually simple: first, move directly to the very front; next, be sure to give your order ASAP to whoever is at the counter no exceptions; then, plant yourself right there to remind them you are waiting and that you know the drill and are not just another tourist passing through - do NOT budge one inch from your spot no matter what anyone says until you get your pie or slice. This works - and they will respect you for it. You may not endear yourself to all the rank amateurs hanging around in confusion but you'll get what you need when you need it. You have to know the drill. Makes all the difference. Don't be shy!

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: j.walker

                    What you are proposing is cutting the line and I disagree with this approach.

                    1. re: dark knight

                      Then wait forever. There is no line to cut. It's a mob, half of which has no idea how to order.

                      1. re: JFores

                        I concur with JFores. We are Dom's customers, but Dom has NO plan of organization for us to order. This is by design I think. He seems amused by it all, and is really only interested in making pizza. I am not sure why he has created a situation whereby a mob is created, a line with number system would be so easy to do. But yet no, there is no system, no protocol, nothing. It is up to each individual to get to the counter and get his eye and order. It is odd, but that's how it is. Life is not easy. His pizza is worth it.

                        1. re: JFores

                          If waiting forever means waiting for my turn, then I'm okay with that.

                          The chaos ya'll are talking about just hasn't been my experience - every time I go people come in the front door, stand in line and place their order in turn. I would think chaos would be created by someone hopping ahead of the line.

                          I guess my opinion is based in part because I try to make a point of going during off hours, but trying to push ahead of people waiting to place their order and blaming it on the chaos isn't something I would do.

                          1. re: dark knight

                            I wouldn't either dark knight, however when they take orders it is really not in the order that we arrived in, it is based on who they see first. My experience is that people ARE generally pretty polite there.

                            1. re: NYJewboy

                              Very well stated and eminently fair. It is what it is and others need to come to terms. Failing that, folks are well advised to search for other (greener) pastures. Good luck!

                                1. re: NYJewboy

                                  That does seem to be where many chaos-o-phobes are put out to pasture.

                                  1. re: JFores

                                    Could be. I hear it's so very much nicer and gentler there - easier on the nerves. A very hushed bon voyage to all. Bless their souls.

                                    1. re: j.walker

                                      Don't get me wrong - the food greatly outweighs any frustration from the chaos for me personally - I am one of the unfortunate folks who has to drive in NYC regularly so I'm not a chaos-o-phobe or someone with out of control road rage (or Difara line rage). I'm also one of those that argue that the long wait for the pizza is part of the zen charm of the place. I just haven't experienced the chaos at the level described by y'all - lines happened every time I have gone - so I can't help but challenge a strategy that says push to the front and be seen and ignore the sheep behind who complain.

                                      The nice guy may finish last, but boy does he get well fed. :)

                                      1. re: dark knight

                                        We've morphed from the Brooklyn fueled chaos that is Di Fara's into a startingly bucolic image, with complacent well-fed sheep grazing in the pastureland, the odd bleat of futility audible from time to time...Not a bad ending to the thread. And hey - someone has to be last!

                    2. Jo and Pat's in Staten Island. Delicious, cheap, world renown and NO LINES :)

                      1. Di faras is a cult and overrated. Frannies is better, so is una pizza napoletana, I like a crust that tastes of wood fired oven, that's the way it's supposed to be.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cloudear

                          After many a pilgrimmage to the Holy Land - sorry, I mean Di Fara's - what I know deep in my heart is that it is among the most sacred - er, I mean delectably satisfying - experiences in all of New York. Mere cult - no, my good friend, better call it truly a religion. Hail Dom!

                        2. J. Walker -- I think Dom gets to your order because you're aggressive and put yourself in his field of vision, not because you are not "a tourist passing through." It sounds like you all are allright with going straight up to the counter and insisting on getting your order in before others because you are so addicted to the pizza. i.e. Dom is God. I have been coming here for longer than these Zagaty fools. Waiting is for suckers.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: guide boy

                            Well, yes and no. I would not refer so harshly to "Zagaty fools" or "suckers" as you have. Nonetheless, I would have to concur with your basic approach since it reflects the simple reality that confronts you when you enter the 'temple' that is Di Fara's. For better or worse, your prescription is spot on. Trust me - it works every time!!

                            1. re: guide boy

                              Not to brag, but I think my combination of aggression and the fact that he knows me (thank God) seems to speed stuff up immensely. Also, I've never gotten a bad pie from him. Not one. The most burning I've ever gotten was a little tiny bit that makes no difference in taste.

                              Or maybe I'm imagining this.

                              1. re: JFores

                                Life isn't fair. So what. Get used to it, and get to the counter and order. I also have NEVER had a bad pie from Di Fara's. Hail Dom.

                                1. re: JFores

                                  Isn't ironic that something you think might be bragging to me seems like bad karma? I owe an apology to user Tay on here for telling her I didn't think regulars would push their way to the front and trade on "knowing Dom" for express service.

                                  Anyway - I don't mean to be confrontational - as much as they allow that here - I've accepted that for me it's not fast food and some are in a bigger hurry than others. Maybe if I lived closer and was able to go more often I'd have a lot more tourist fatigue and less concern about this. Actually I probably would.