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DiFara = Disappointing.

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Very disappointing.

1. Unbelievably long wait.
I waited 50 minutes after politely asking for two plain cheese slices. The place wasn’t even that busy. Plenty of people jumped ahead of me with entire pizza orders that were filled before any slices were made available to anyone. Finally, a customer who had already ordered and received two pies, asked if another one could be made. Dom’s daughter responded “sure, it’ll be ready in a few minutes.” I politely asked if my order would be speeded up if I requested an entire pie, to which she kind of rolled her eyes. I asked if it would be much longer for my slices, she responded (for the third time), “yeah, it’s in the oven now.” That same customer who jumped ahead of me kindly offered a slice from his own pie, fresh from the oven, which I gladly snapped up, as I was almost ready to pass out from starvation. Seriously, I hadn't eaten all day! After one greasy, dripping bite, I realized further waiting would not be adequately rewarded, and I walked out.

2. Good, not great pizza.
The crust was not particularly flavorful, and certainly rather dense. The sauce had a bit of tart/sweetness too it, which was nice, but no better than above average. The cheese was clearly better than typical NY ‘pizza cheese’, but not in the realm of Patsy’s, John’s, Grimaldi’s, etc. It was okay. The whole slice was dripping in an unnecessary slather of olive oil that goes on after the pie is delivered from the oven. The final dusting of cheese (parmesean?), and clippings of fresh basil were a nice, though visually unappealing touch.

3. Long haul from the city.
This is no destination eatery. If you're local, and place your order an hour ahead, it makes sense to eat there. If not, find a good pizzeria closer to home. I'm sure there are many as good as DiFara.

4. It’s just a pizzeria.
This is not really a criticism, just an observation. It’s just a pizza joint, and kind of a dump at that. It’s certainly not a destination spot for a sit down meal. If you're in Brooklyn, go to Lucali instead.

Overall, I was not impressed. I could speculate as to the reasons why some people act so fanatical about this place, but there would be no point. It’s just pizza. If you like it, good for you. You won’t have to worry about this chowhound jumping ahead of you in line.

On my way home, still hungry, I considered my many options for good pizza in the city, and settled on Una Pizza Napoletana on 12th between 1st and 2nd Ave. There was no wait. I got a single pie to take home, but ate most of it on the subway. Now THAT is a pizza made of “the finest ingredients”, as so many have claimed about DiFara. I suspect that DiFara fans lack the taste buds needed to discern the difference. The small pie was $21, but only took 5 minutes, I was treated well, and served water while I sat down and waited. How much was that 50 minutes spent standing around like a jackass starving at DiFara worth? If you're thinking of trying this place for the novelty, as I did, don't bother, it ain't worth it.

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  1. "I suspect that DiFara fans lack the taste buds needed to discern the difference"

    Or, imagine this: people, like myself, who have enjoyed DiFara's pizza amongst others, just have opinions that differ from your own.
    P.

    1. Without the usual battle, I simply offer this challenge to you powermd: go one more time and get an entire square pie. If you do not like it better I will pay for it myself somehow.

      3 Replies
      1. re: NYJewboy

        I couldn't even get two slices, let alone an entire pie. This pizza is okay, but not worth the trip out from the city, let alone a full hour wait. The guy who kindly gave me a slice was local and said it was typical to wait that long regardless of what you order.

        1. re: powermd

          A full hour wait? Uh... Why? How? When did you go!?!? You should never be waiting that long on a non Fri-Sat. There's a pretty big difference between a single slice and a pie there also. That pizza has to be eaten before the cheese even sets for maximum enjoyment.

        2. re: NYJewboy

          "The cheese was clearly better than typical NY ‘pizza cheese’, but not in the realm of Patsy’s, John’s, Grimaldi’s, etc"

          dom uses doc bufala mozzarela, the best in the world. Patsy’s, John’s, Grimaldi’s all use cheese many notches below. get a grip, man.

        3. Fresh basil clippings visually unappealing? egads....

          3 Replies
          1. re: King of Northern Blvd

            I should have explained. Dom drizzles oil all over the cooked pizza, then clips the basil leaves from the stalk which land on the pizza in clumps, and finishes it off with a dusting of parmesean. The whole post-oven pizza treatment is kind of visually unappealing.

            1. re: powermd

              Oh, I know what he does. It's just most people like to watch him treat his pizza out of the oven..But to each his own.

              1. re: powermd

                Interesting how different people have different opinions and tastes. I would be in pizza heaven if I saw someone put fresh basil leaves on a pie after it came out of the oven. Usually you're lucky to get fresh basil at all or it's a few tiny, stingy shreds of the sweet leaf. The open kitchen. . . you have to be into that. I need to take a Brooklyn pizza tour. I have only been to Spumoni Gardens, Grimaldi's and a brew pub in Red Hook that had pretty good pizza.

            2. Powermd, I'm curious about how you approached your visit. Did you research any of the literally hundreds of Difara's posts littering Chowhound? If you had, I expect you'd have noticed conversations specifically addressing your complaints. Judging by your issues, I'd also judge that if you had done any small amount of research you would have learned enough to steer clear.
              However, I fear you did no research. Therefore you had no idea when were the best times to visit; what might be the best way to secure your pizza; that Dom's daughter is barely tracking things; what the prices were; that indeed the place is a dump and that there is always a generous pour of olive oil. And you'd certainly learn that standing around waiting for two slices, not tracking slice pies and without being assertive and attentive will get you little.
              Finally, the fact that you feel you can judge Dom and his food by eating exactly one slice leads me to believe you had little intention of doing more than debunking what you feel is a myth.
              Concluding your, ahem, review, with the lovely statement that "DiFara fans lack the taste buds needed to discern the difference" makes me wonder why you even bother reading and posting on Chowhound. DiFara, like a few other places, are known to be long standing Chowhound favorites. Likely the majority of NY 'hounds ARE Difara fans. It follows then that you believe many NY 'hounds lack discerning taste buds. I'm puzzled.

              14 Replies
              1. re: noisejoke

                Until the "taste bud" comment, despite disagreeing with some of your points/logic, I was willing to accept that the you were honestly reporting on a bad first experience, which is fine. But that comment signaled that you had an axe to grind, which is why I responded in the first place. Besides that, it was just plain incorrect.

                There are a great many Difara enthusiasts on this board, a few of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting, whose taste buds are not only discerning with respect to pizza, but with respect to a wide variety of foods and cuisines. We're talking experienced eaters here. Now, that is not to say that they are right, and you are automatically wrong; honestly, how can you contradict another person's taste buds? But you were the individual who brought it into that silly realm of right and wrong anyhow.

                I tend to enjoy the DiFara's threads - obsessive and crazy as they are - when people just stick to the pizza, and leave their egos out of it.

                As for the pizza, I had three slices last Friday afternoon, around 12:30: in succession, a regular, a regular with baby eggplant, and a sicilian, each better than the one before it, each bursting with freshness and flavor, the combination of pure tomato and tasty crust on the sicilian being off the charts good.

                As obnoxious as the hype can be - and the occasional backlash - it's the pizza that matters. And that's some amazing pizza.
                P.

                1. re: Polecat

                  The "taste bud" comment was added to address the inevitable comments from those who would trash Una in favor of DiFara for reasons having nothing to do with the food.

                  I went on a Friday around 5pm- sure, a typically busy time for DiFara, but it wasn't that busy at all. In fact, there was a solid 20 minute period when I was one of two or three people standing around the counter. I had asked three times, as politely as possible, when my slices would be available, and if it would be much longer. If Dom's daughter had just told the truth and said it would be a full hour wait, I would have left and come back.

                  And to JFores- the slice I eventually got was piping hot, right out of the oven, part of a full pie destined to go home as take out. It was literally dripping all over my fingers and on to the floor. I never said it was bad pizza. Just not something to make a religion out of.

                  And I wouldn't have gone all the way out there just to "debunk the hype". I was literally starving and hadn't eaten anything all day, I was hoping it would live up to the hype of the fanatics on this board. I'm very democratic in my hounding. I gave it a fair shot, and it's not better than any of the majors I frequently see bashed in favor of DiFara.

                  1. re: powermd

                    Powermd
                    This is an interesting thread to me b/c it's a lot more cordial than other Di Fara threads on which I have posted and I was a lot kinder to the pizza itself:-} As many CH DiFara regulars know, I'm not a fan and for most, if not all, of the non pizza reasons you mentioned in your OP. I have experienced all of the same waits, being ignored/passed over in favor of more aggressive customers. etc. After several visits, all of which were the same, I decided the frustrating ordeal to acquire the pizza was just not worth it. I also agree that the addition of the olive oil at the end is excessive. That's just a personal preference. I think, perhaps, the hype also had me expecting the whole "heaven in a slice" experience and that didn't happen either. For me, (And I stress: FOR ME) whether it's eating a slice, or dining at Per Se, I want the experience to be as stress free and enjoyable as possible. I accept that (again, for me) DiFara's is never going to provide that sort of experience ..
                    That having been said...
                    I respect my felllow CH's and realize, that for many, DiFara's is a beloved institution that deserves their apppreciation and support. Perhaps,they have figured out the best times to go and can set their hunger to those times, or perhaps (Grrr!) they are the people cutting the line and elbowing their way to the "sweet spot" at the counter, or maybe they have the patience of Job. I don't know, but I think it's a testemony to the Owner and his pizza that there is such a loyal, devoted following. It just doesn't work for us, but it does for them.

                    1. re: powermd

                      powermd: You were pissed off... you're not the first & wont be the last. It's an infuriating non-system that Dom uses and some of my best friends wont go for that reason alone. And you also wont be the first, nor the last, to not like the added oil nor some of his other "rustic" methods. But dont get carried away with yourself and think that the rest of us dont have taste buds & he's living on hype. It's just not that simple. And it's over the top insulting. Here's a proposition for you: since you recommended Lucali's in Brooklyn, take a hike over there yourself and have a conversation with Mark (the owner/pizza maker). Unlike Dom, Mark is laid back, friendly and approachable. Ask him why he spent so many hours at DiFara's watching Dom & why he feels as strongly about his product as we do. Ask him about the ingredients. Ask him about the taste buds.

                      1. re: Steve R

                        "Mark is laid back, friendly and approachable. Ask him why he spent so many hours at DiFara's watching Dom & why he feels as strongly about his product as we do. Ask him about the ingredients. Ask him about the taste buds."

                        Then ask Mark for a pie. You'll get it in less than 20 minutes and it's damn good.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          Bob..
                          You know, I was saying the same thing to myself. I was hoping someone would post that thought...
                          Thanks! :-}

                      2. re: powermd

                        Maybe it's just not your thing. I've heard of some people being bothered by the oilyness and other things. I personally can't stand Una because of the service (if it's a sit down restaurant I expect it), the price and the fact that the pizza is only OK on Italian standards. In my experience, Dom has WOWed Italians I brought there. Una would be like any other pie you'd get in much of Southern Italy.

                        The hour wait bit is silly though. You have to stay ridiculously attentative, at the counter and at a certain part of the counter or things take much longer.

                        I took two Londoners there and got a pie in the midst of a pretty decent dinner crowd in under 30 minutes. It was probably about 20. It was delicious and they loved it.

                        Two more tourists spared the evils of a Brooklyn Bridge walk followed by Grimaldi's (not to mention that I gave them a food tour of Bed Stuy.)

                        1. re: JFores

                          You did a food tour of Bed Sty?... I'm impressed. ...Seriously :-}

                          1. re: JFores

                            JFlores..
                            I was just rereading your post...Got distracted by the whloe Bed Stuy tour, thing.
                            See? That's the thing. I can't speak for the OP, but I wouldn't even mind the wait, Even if it was a l-o-n-g wait. It's the whole unfair and chaotic non system that they, the owners, perpetuate. I''ve been thinking about it (Beats thinking about work stuff) Doesn't Dom and family owe you, their loyal and devoted following (I'm not mocking: I'm serious) some sort of consideration, and courtesy for your patronage over all these years?
                            Don't they have some sort of obligation to take respectful care of you for standing by them for the long haul and for allowing them to have the benefits of a successful business? The gratitude should be a two way deal. No one should have to plot and plan and scheme and manouver to the counter, when all it would take to make everyone happy with a sense of being treated fairly, would be a simple number system and some sort of decision as to how often slices are made available vs whole pies. It's not too much to ask. The product, as good as it may be, should not jsutify allowing customers to be treated poorly.

                            1. re: Tay

                              Tay -- Since I'm in this thread, I might as well jump in on your note to JFlores uninvited :-)

                              Your point is well taken, but misguided (at least as it relates to me). I've been going since I was 14 (that's 40 years) and I really dont feel disrespected or poorly taken care of by Dom (there's no other owner). The only 2 way "obligation", as I see it, is for him to be there and keep producing the same product (I would feel cheated if he suddenly put out something other than the quality he does) and for me to decide, given all the variables, to go and spend my $$ there or not. Whether he chooses to put in a numbering system (I've always thought you had a good idea here and even told him so... deaf ears on his part; not interested) or not, whether he chooses to serve folks based on their hair color or order of appearence at the door, that's his choice. As long as he's reasonably consistant, that gives me a choice of going or not, eyes wide open.

                              Hey, I dont like supplemental charges at price fixed dinners and many other irritating choices restaurant owners may make. At Lucali's, Mark forces me to only eat pizza and/or calzone if I want to eat there... but, if I am okay with the ground rules and the product is worth it to me, I'm in. But, no, I dont think a business owner owes a customer more than that.

                              That being said, most of us wish that Dom would bend a little on some things. But, if he was bendable, he probably wouldnt be equally self assured and focused on making pizza and who knows what would've happened then. Ya gotta take the whole package or leave it... no one's calling for a vote. Certainly not Dom.

                              1. re: Steve R

                                Steve R
                                I have to say, this thread is alot more uhhh.. dare I say 'genteel' than a previous one when I related my experiences and expressed my thoughts, RE: DiFara's and was somewhat personally attacked. Fortunately, I have an iron clad ego, and no one has my address,so it didn't have much of an impact. :-}
                                Seriously, I appreciate your thoughts and, of course you're right about choice .Except, maybe for that leeetle part about Mr DiFara refusing service to people based on their hair color, etc..But that's a discrimination suit of another color...... Kidding ! Kidding! :-}
                                I have to respectfully agree to disagree with you RE: The unwritten obligation that exists between the propriator.of a business and his/her customers. I don't think you'd accept this sort of experience from any other owner/Mgr. Certainly not without some demonstrated effort on the part of the Mgmt to improve the customer's experience.
                                This is a 'relationship' if you will, based on a give and take. For many of you, it trandscends just a business relationship. You are personally fond of this gentleman and you both admire his craft and appreciate and support his product/creation. I am sincere (I can be on occasion) when I say I genuinely admire the loyalty you ,show to this man and his business. He may write the checks, but it's all of you that pay the bills. In his own, laid back way, his refusal to make even the smallest of changes to acommodate, and better serve his customers, tells me something less than admirable about the way he conducts his business. Ironically, it's his devoted following that has 'word of mouthed' him into never having to show some courtesy and appreciation to the very peolpe who provide free advertising and excellent reviews. I suppose if I was a devotee, I would feel as you do, but if waiting for my fair turn in a "first come first served" environment is not possible because it's not something that DiFara's is even remotely interested in providing, then I acept that the owner doesn't care because he doesn't have to, and I'll make do elsewhere.
                                I did appreciate your post.. :-}

                                1. re: Tay

                                  I'm glad this thread is (so far) remaining civil as well. I see no reason for it to be otherwise; after all, I dont know you well enough to personally detest you (yep, that's me joking around). Actually, I even find it hard to personally attack those I do know (see upthread... another joke). At any rate, I really can see your point but disagree with your formulation. We make different acommodations & weigh things based on our own values and those of the specific person on the other side of the table. In the case of Dom, you short sell his end of the agreement. You cite his lack of organization, assume that he doesnt care about his customers, and place a negative value on it that isnt offset by anything else. You say we pay the bills & place a positive on our side... again, not looking at anything else. The scale tips one way. No surprise.

                                  Well, I agree that he is disorganized and, knowing the man for quite a few years, risk the ire of many when I also agree that Dom truly doesnt much care about customer opinion either. But to think that the customer doesnt benefit from his devotion to the craft which, up until this year, led him to work 364 days/year, 12 hours/day, pulling every pie himself, and to not insert that into the equation or "contract" is incorrect, from my perspective. It's not just the money... he doesnt get to spend much of that &, based on even rudimentary math, he probably doesnt need any more of it either. What we offset the variables you describe with is the single minded devotion he has to put himself entirely into the process, something no business owner needs to do. It has a serious positive effect on what we, the consumers, receive & it makes it worthwhile for us to put up with the lack of "relationship". Besides, for some of us, you'd even have to factor in the entertainment value we get watching the show, including the antsy "fast food folk" who wind up in the slooooow food venue that is DiFara's.

                                  Understand that I really mean it when I say that this is specific to Dom. After 40 years, I sometimes get no more than an eye twinkle and nod. No real relationship and I'm okay with it. At Kebab Cafe, another place I regularly defend, I'd value the relationship with the owner (whom I know well and go out to eat with elsewhere) over the price and ambience (read: small, cramped space... otherwise, actually quite a charming place). Of course, in all places, the other variables only enter into it if/when the food shines to begin with. And, with Dom (& Ali), boy can they create.

                                  1. re: Steve R

                                    Steve (I now know you well enough to drop the "R" :-}
                                    You say:
                                    ".... But to think that the customer doesnt benefit from his devotion to the craft which, up until this year, led him to work 364 days/year, 12 hours/day, pulling every pie himself, and to not insert that into the equation or "contract" is incorrect, from my perspective. It's not just the money... .......
                                    . What we offset the variables you describe with is the single minded devotion he has to put himself entirely into the process, something no business owner needs to do"

                                    I absolutely think the customer benefits greatly from his devotion to his work. I never thought for a minute that it was just about the money. If I implied otherwise, Mea culpa. I will though, disagree with the latter part of your quote, above. I think every business owner should devote him/herself to the needs and requests of their customers. Within reason, of course. I appreciate that Mr DiFara is devoted to his craft. I'm just saying that he should be as devoted to the customers who provided him with the wherewithall to practice it.. And I don't think he cares much about his customers. If he did, he'd try to make the process of obtaining his pizza an easier process. I suppose that what bothers me. ...
                                    I think that's where you and I differ in our perceptions: I believe that
                                    he does what he does because he likes doing it. and not because he is devoted to his customers It's what he knows how to do and that's a great thing for you guys because you love what he does.He's doing it bcause it fills his days and gives him a sense of purpose which is also a good thing. I'm just saying if he were as devoted to his customers as thy are to him, you'd think he'd want to make sharing his artistry a nicer experience. Maybe allow more of the next generation to enjoy his pizza. Maybe leave a bigger, better business for his daughter. and, if he has any, Grandchildren,
                                    Of course, we're back to choices.and free will, and all that jazz... :-}
                                    As I said before, I accept the phnom. that is DiFara's, I just don't understand it. Too much like unrequieted love: I don't understand that either :-}

                                  2. re: Tay

                                    And likely there is no way at this point for fans of of Dom and his product (clearly a beloved product with a passionate following) to assess the 'service' without bias. Whether it's great pizza, good pizza, or the best pizza in the world, dismissive and uncaring service isn't that endearing - even for a legend. I admire his fans loyalty to a point, but I agree that they perpetuate the idea that this product is worth the whole bad ambience of the thing (I know, some think it's good theater). Dom works hard - seems to care about his product - but so do alot of pizza guys; the difference is, they know who's next in line.. Not such a tough concept to employ, if you care. I get the sense Dom knows more than his fans think about psychology and that he knows the 'gestalt' of it all is appealing and 'cool' to his fan base. IMHO, not so cool. Have had some yummy pizza there, but don't care for the game of it. Not gonna play.

                      3. Maybe one of the reasons your wait was so long is because some people cut the line. I've heard stories -
                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/471769

                        1. You need to plan out a visit to DiFara:
                          1) Do not go and expect to get your food in less than 60 min. On Fri/Sat, expect 60-90.
                          2) Do not order slices. Whole pies only. And they must be eaten directly out of the oven in the store. Best to go with one other person since a pie feeds two, and your guest can keep you entertained for the 60+ minute wait. It's a great early date- you're forced to talk and bond because you have nothing else to do but watch Dom make his pizzas while you wait.
                          3) There is no system. There is no order. While infuriating, once you accept that it becomes part of the fun. There's an art to getting your order taken and making sure it makes it to Dom and eventually in the oven without being a pain about it. And part of why their pizza is so good...is that you are absolutely starving once you get it :)
                          4) Can't do anything about the location. Sadly, Manhattan is not the center of the universe for everything The Q train ride is not THAT long. If it is, there's no point venturing out of the city.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: BigV

                            Big V
                            I think I would rather shower in women's prison than go through this sort of convoluted dance for....pretty much anything, let alone Pizza, albeit it good pizza.. A date??? To Di Fara's??? Please tell me that's a litle joke.
                            The lack of any system being thought of "part of the fun" as though getting your order taken is some sort of special game? Surely you jest.?
                            Even the Di Fara Regs have to be smiling at the thought! :-}

                            1. re: Tay

                              I suppose this means you won't be going there any time soon. I am sure Dom will get over it. To each their own although I must say that was one of the oddest posts I have ever read.

                              1. re: BigV

                                That's funny... And here I thought your post was rather strange. :-}
                                Sort of a, "DiFara's for Dummies" ( Not you... The Book)
                                Nope. Won't be going any time soon.. I know: More for you :-}}
                                It wasn't my intention to be unkind.Just the thought of a couple on a date. at Di Fara's. I have to say it made me smile.
                                Definitely a Quentin Tarantino moment.
                                There are a lot of good things one can say about Di Fara's pizza, however,
                                the process required to actually get some could never by any stretch of the imagination be thought of by a sane person, as 'part of the fun'

                                1. re: Tay

                                  If I couldn't take a date to DiFara's (not a first date, I'm saying at least a few dates in) then I want nothing to do with her. It's a great test to see how much patience she has and how much of a snob she might be :)

                                  1. re: BigV

                                    <<If I couldn't take a date to DiFara's (not a first date, I'm saying at least a few dates in) then I want nothing to do with her. It's a great test to see how much patience she has and how much of a snob she might be >>

                                    Hear, hear!

                                    I've taken a few dates to DiFara's and indeed, it's an excellent litmus test!

                                    A wait? indeed. A mess? Absolutely. Anarchy? No doubt.

                                    All worth it? By all means! Not just for the food, but for the pleasure of watching Dom work.

                                    This is New York City, not Disneyland. Messes, waits and jockeying for position in line is part of what makes this city so great they had to name it twice. ;)

                                    1. re: BigV

                                      I am neither impatient, nor a snob, but I don't think I'd relish hanging out at DiFara;s. while on a date. Aside from the Pizza, it has no redeeming features. Just a personal preference.. It might be fine for someone else.

                                      1. re: Tay

                                        Actually, I think it has several redeeming features other than the pizza (beyond the patience and comfort zone tests mentioned above). Off the top of my head:

                                        -- Watching Dom work
                                        -- Chatting with locals who are outside your regular NYC scene
                                        -- Observing the orthodox crowd
                                        -- A long drive or train ride to chat

                                        All of it is what makes DiFara great. Honestly, if it was JUST the pizza I think it would be a hair or two less scrumptious to me.

                                        But that's just me. :)

                                        1. re: Peter

                                          Peter, if you want to combine pizza and watching "the orthodox crowd," may I suggest taking your date to the glatt kosher pizzeria at Ave J and E. 14th, juist a block away from diFara's. Never a 60 minute wait, and no soggy crust.

                                          1. re: guide boy

                                            Thanks for the suggestion but no thanks. I've been there and I think Dom's pizza is vastly superior. Besdies, I like my pepperoni or sausage on occasion and watching Dom work is a huge part of the draw for me (which is likely part of the reason that I don't mind the wait).

                            2. If the criteria for a scathing attack on Dom is wait time, then OK. I am as fanatic as they come and even I get frustrated and often leave. If the criteria is too much good olive oil on top of the pizza, then it might not be a question of quality but of style. Dom's style is typical of many southern Italian pizziolas. However, if the criteria is overall taste (a subjective aesthetic issue if there ever was one) then this cannot EVER be resolved in other than a difference of opinion. So many Chowhounds love/hate DiFara, it is obvious that one must make up one's own mind.

                              I personally never get regular. I wish powermd would try the square as I originally said. I think enough factors are different (aside from wait time) that it might turn him around. And for god's sake, try the hot peppers.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: NYJewboy

                                Now if I read the original post correctly, the scientific basis of the entire anti-Dom screed (the pizza part of it at least) was based on one single bite of a round slice. I did get that right, right?

                                The noive!

                                1. re: HankyT

                                  Hi Folks. I appreciate most of what's been said here and in the relatively congenial manner in which it's been said. I think the fact that there's yet another conversation regarding the enigma that is Difara's is a testimony to both the pizza and the social needs of humans. But, I'd like to simplify things a bit. There's lots of theory, supposition, and assumption regarding Dom, his family, his methods, reasons, manner, business decisions, business acumen, and history. Also, much of each post is written from the poster's view towards all these, and of course, the food. However, when it gets down to it I find it all incredibly beside the point, and entirely subjective. To me, the simple paradox is in the sheer economics. Clearly, Difara's couldn't survive as the average corner slice and pie delivery joint. We no doubt agree, within our wide parameters of taste and subjectivity that what a customer deals with to get the food is exceptional. Therefore, there must be some higher value placed on the food that supersedes those drawbacks and continues to make the enterprise financially viable.
                                  I would request a few simple admissions from all of us foolish enough to venture into yet another Difara's debate: Voluntary choice in food, and how it's procured, is entirely dictated by personal taste. A call on Chowhound to "doubt the taste buds" of fellow 'hounds is entirely contradictory, and frankly, mean spirited. Again, I'd question the original poster's decision to dismiss the pizza with the taste of a single slice, certainly one so storied as Difara's. But, I digress. If enough customers decided the pizza, no matter how good, was not worth the effort to get it, the place would go out of business. And this may happen someday. But to go on about what Dom does or doesn't do, plan, or think is not only assumptive and specious, but not the issue. To those who suppose that the continued popularity of his pizza is in any way large or small due to some "cool" factor attached to the effort needed to actually get it, I respectfully state your misunderstanding of the mission of Chowhound as set out by the originators. This issue is not tantamount to teens and twenty-somethings arguing over status accorded consumers of certain computers or mp3 players. The beginning assumption must be made that the focus here is good and interesting food, and especially that which might be more difficult to discover, but may in fact be more than worth the extra effort.
                                  Don't get me wrong, I understand the pleasures that can accompany food, and that those pleasures can add value whether derived, like many things, through positive or negative experiences: shopping, cooking, traveling, French service, crummy dives, long waits and room service all add flavor the actual taste. But, imho Chowhound resolutely relies on the concept that the flavor begins and ends with the food. No matter, how much you dress up an experience, food not enjoyed is food not enjoyed. Conversely, no matter how bad an experience is, the food just may be worth it to somebody. To suppose that a difficult but perceived "cool" experience also overcomes unexceptional food is, I believe, demeaning to those who actually do find the food worthy. We're not talking about standing on line for an hour at Red Lobster. And believe me, people do that. I do apologize for the length of this post.

                                  1. re: noisejoke

                                    I just love it when people say "But, I digress" :-}

                                    Very well writtten. I got lost in the posting, so I'm not sure what point(s) you were trying to make, but if you were trying to say the bottom line is that it's always all about the food, perhaps for you it is. For me, it's the whole experience of eating/dining.: Be it a slice at the local Pizza joint (Probably not DiFara's, though) or a tasting at Per Se.. Breakfast at a dive in the East Village, or an excessive Sunday Brunch at the Molly Pitcher Inn.. While I realize my interpretation is just that , mine, conversely, you have to accept that for everyone it may not boil down (IGee, I never realized there were so many cooking terms in every day conversation) to being all about the food.
                                    I think I'm Di Farra'd out...:-}
                                    PS: I think I'd rather stand in line at Red Lobster and know I'm going to get called in turn rather than helplessly mill around a Pizza place,or cling to the counter hoping that eventually, someone will take my order and actually process it.

                                  2. re: HankyT

                                    Not just a bite, dude. A WHOLE SLICE! It was fresh too. I wasn't really enthused about the square pie after Dom pulled a smoking burned one from the oven. The entire restaurant filled with smoke! Amazing how much emotion this topic generates. My fundamental point about the pizza wasn't that it's bad pizza, it's just not as good as the fanatics talk it up to be. Claims that it's WAAAAAAY better than John's, Grimaldi's, Una, Patsy's, Lucali's, hell- even Lombardi's - are utter fantasy. But hey, to each his own.

                                    I must say, I expected much more vitriol from DiFara people about Una Pizza Napoletana. The 'taste buds' remark was intentionally mean spirited and directed at those who would denigrate the food at Una based on it's high prices and curt treatment of customers when it's busy (I've read such comments in other threads). Interestingly, there have been none. Sorry if that remark offended some of you.

                                    1. re: powermd

                                      Powermd, in all due respect, I think you're missing the point again. If you wanna judge the pizza based on one slice, be my guest. If you feel the food isn't worth your effort, that is absolutely rational. Yes, "to each his own". However, you acquiesce to subjectivity and taste with faint praise and undisguised snark. To demean your fellow posters' discernment, and to declare in your most recent post their claims to be "utter fantasy" is frankly a call to disregard anything else you have to say about any food.

                                      Ultimately, pizza is very simple, but potentially very deep. If you don't like any of the three basic components and the way in which they're combined, you're not going to like the particular pizza. For instance, if you like the sauce more savory than sweet, there will be some you don't like. But, you write from the position that your taste is the correct taste.

                                      Maybe it's not what you're saying but how you're saying it. But, I doubt it.

                                      1. re: powermd

                                        noisejoke
                                        You have a very common sensical way of putting things.

                                        1. re: Tay

                                          Tay - yeah, of course, I'm speaking for my joys and needs. That was one of my points. But another was that we can make some baseline assumptions about Chowhound. There's a lot of passion and fandom and fun here. But is it not generated by the food? I understand, support and applaud your defense and admission that certain experiences ultimately do detract from your enjoyment. But, truly, really, seriously, in a side by side comparison you'd rather wait at Red Lobster for an hour, have your name called, then eat that food?

                                          Pwrmd - most of your second paragraph above didnt appear before for some reason. I've never been to Una, but those who denigrate the food there, should judge the food.

                                          So, Red Lobster has better service than DiFara. Even if we didn't agree on that, we should be able to agree that to SOME degree, service does not equal food, and again that it's entirely subjective.

                                          I guess I'm just pissed because I love DiFara, and have no problem putting up with a lot of crap in order to dig on the chow. Of course, I frequently choose to NOT go, and sometimes pass on by dissuaded by the crowd. I'll live to visit another day.

                                          You may think, even write, that I'm a sucker or an idiot. But don't tell me I'm making a culinary decision based on anything other than what I tell you I'm making it on, and yes for me, it's about the food.

                                          1. re: noisejoke

                                            Actually, my original reply was about how Powermd's experience seemed to come as some great surprise. I assumed if one kept up with or researched these crazed DiFara's threads they'd know how nutty the place is.

                                  3. 100% correct sort of. Di Fara gets 0 stars for decor, service, organization, location, ect..

                                    My experience is that when the line grows the quality of the pizza declines. I suggest buying a whole pie and eating on ocean parkway. Di Fara is an artisan pie, which means that when the artisan has an off day, the product is not as good. Places that are well organized, have a standard product, and have an army of 'immigrant' workers, can handle surges, DiFara cannot. In many ways DiFara is the worst run restaurant in NYC. They survive because of the their unique product, and they either own the property or have a lease that was negotiated 30 years ago.

                                    In general DiFara is not set up to handle hoards of people. It is a local place that people that live within 5 mi or so can go and if it is crazy move on to one of the Kosher places. I like Golan on the corner of CIA, for fruit and nuts.

                                    1. Here's my DiFara story (but without the insults to people's taste buds):

                                      Labor Day weekend 2007 I thought I'd finally check out DiFara's on my way back home to Jersey. Until it made all the Best Of lists, I had never heard of it, despite having gone to the eye doctor across the street for the last 15 years. When I arrived, there wasn't much of a line, so I got on the end of it, hoping for a slice. So I waited. And I waited. And I waited. The young man behind the counter, who I now realize was Dom's son, did not acknowledge me. He walked around doing a whole lot of nothing, but speaking to his customers was apparently not on his "To do" list that day. After about 20 minutes of sweating profusely in the 90 degree heat and being ignored, I asked a gentleman next to me who seemed to know what was going on if there were any slices. He said probably not today. At that point I was so frustrated and annoyed by the utter lack of any kind of customer service, I just up and left and vowed not to go back any time soon.

                                      Flash forward a little over 7 months later - any time soon has passed and I figured I would try again on a semi-cold Sunday in January, figuring there wouldn't be much of a line and that I wouldn't have to deal with 90 degree heat. I brought a friend along and it looks like I was right - there was a very small line. Within about 10 minutes, our order was taken by the same young man who ignored me on that long-ago summer's day and about 15 minutes after that, we had a fresh, piping hot half-artichoke/half-plain pizza in front of us.

                                      The verdict? Really, really good. I loved the edge of the crust, though parts of it were severely burnt. The center was a little too soft for me and the cheese slid right off. The fresh basil was great and the shaved Grana Padano was a nice touch. The side with the artichokes was also quite good and I would definitely try the porcini mushrooms the next time I go. Which means, yes, I will be back, presuming the line and the wait are just as short. If not, I keep on driving.

                                      However, I can easily understand the frustration of someone who spends an hour on the subway for the express purpose of eating at Di Fara's, only to experience the same frustrating, infuriating customer service that I experienced back in May. I grew up in Brooklyn, so I know I can just drive over to Franny's, Totonno's or Spumoni Gardens for pizza, or hit Ortobellos for a full-on meal. Not so much if you're a tourist or Manhattanite who is chomping at the bit to eat the "best pizza in NYC". Which it really isn't, as everyone obviously has their own taste when it comes to pizza. Me? I'm a fan of the Totonno's/Grimaldi's style. But DiFara's is a close runner up.

                                      As for why Dom and family don't get their act together and at least pretend to try to organize their line(s) of customers before a riot breaks out? Maybe they don't care - they seem to do pretty well and Dom can only make so many pies in a day. Since its become a major tourist attraction, I've come to look at ordering a pizza at DiFara's similar to waiting on line at Pat's or Jim's in Philly for a Cheesesteak or a hot dog and fries at Nathan's in Coney on a summer's day - it's all part of the experience. And as someone who was entranced watching the master make his art, I would rather he not train a protege to make the pizza along with him. Though I do hope he passes on the recipe when he retires - hopefully not for a long time.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: BarryDubya

                                        The reason Dom runs his like that? Because he can. He is ONLY interested in the pizza. Running a buisness is not high on his list.

                                        Having said that, of course, it is my favorite pizza in the world.

                                        1. re: NYJewboy

                                          High five. I was there well into closing time last Wed. and I ended up having nearly an hour conversation with him. Very interesting. Funny to hear what he thinks about the waiting system and complaining.

                                          And my pie was perfect.

                                          I mean this Wed.

                                          1. re: JFores

                                            So...what does he think about the waiting system and people complaining?

                                            1. re: elecsheep9

                                              And what does he think about people cutting the line?
                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46707...

                                              1. re: elecsheep9

                                                He pretty much shrugged it off like it doesn't happen and then asked me where I bought my jacket. It was pretty funny.

                                          2. re: BarryDubya

                                            Please don't mention Nathans. The very name makes me cringe with memories of bad food during my freshman year of high school.

                                            People need to chill out about the damn wait. If you can't deal with a Q train ride, then don't do it. We're not forcing you to wait. In fact, go wait on line at Grimaldi's. Oh yeah, the wait is the same there if not longer!

                                            An attention span and an understanding of the system is all you need to get a pie faster than a lot of people who arrived before you. Pretty girls help too.

                                          3. I'm sorry, but I can't take anyone seriously who compares Grimaldi's cheese to DiFara's. There is no comparison. Now I can understand why one would be frustrated with waiting for almost an hour for pizza, but when you actually get it and sit down and eat it, there's no denying how great it is.

                                            I've been 3 times, traveling an hour to get there and waiting 30-45 minutes for my pie each time. I go in knowing that wait will be there, and I leave thrilled with my pizza.

                                            I'll tell you this. I'd rather make the longer trip to DiFara's and have the longer wait for the pizza, than going to Grimaldi's, which is very good, but not great.