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A little bit of order brought to Difara's

So tonight I brought an out of town friend to Difara and was pleasantly surprised to find a wee bit of order brought to the usual stressful chaos.

As I approached I was shocked and amazed to see what resembled an actual LINE of people waiting to order. No mass crushed against the counter, no pushing to get an elbow down on the tile.

A younger guy I've never seen there before (dark hair and glasses, left handed -- probably one of Dom's sons based on the way they interacted) was taking people's orders and writing them down on a pad: square or round, toppings, to stay or to go, and your initials.

As soon as he had 4 pizzas written down on a sheet he'd tear the sheet off and put it in front of Dom. When Dom had made everything on the sheet, he'd throw it away and put a new sheet in front of Dom.

I have to say, it worked pretty well. Occasionally someone would try to cut the line -- and one woman had her pie swiped a few times because she made the mistake of sitting down, but overall the grumpiness and line-cutting was minimal. I think the sense of order brought by the list took some of the wind out of the sails of the ruder people.

I don't if it will last but it was nice to see the pizza as good as ever yet a bit less chaotic to obtain.

(Oh, and it was a nice Saturday night and we got there at 9pm and got our pizza at 10:15 or so. Well worth the wait as always.)

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  1. Peter
    Thay's very encouraging to hear. I've always maintained that it's' not the wait, it's the chaos and unfair practices that make a trip there so frustrating. Perhaps this will equal the playing field. Thanks for your posting. :-}

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tay

      thanks peter! it's not enough to break my boycott but it's an obvious step in the right direction.

      1. re: TBird

        TBird, TBird, TBird, where's the love?

        1. re: NYJewboy

          "TBird, TBird, TBird, where's the love?"

          i know, my friend, but the last two treks there were misery. :-(

          i was even going to buy a co-op 1.5 blocks away just so i could be that close. and i'm not even jewish!lol

          desperate times require desperate measures...
          :-)

    2. I've seen this a few times but it does not work at all. Her daughter was trying it and while my name was on the list, I can say for a fact that I got my pie well before it came up. I finished eating before most of the other people who were in front of me got their pie.

      10 Replies
      1. re: TonyO

        I have never seen any fisticuffs, but there are lots of rude and obnoxious types that think they own a share of the place. If one wants to wait it out and not be pushy, then they will have to wait in the back of the line for a longer period of time. It can be compared to driving a car at rush hour on the L.I.E. There is a lot of merging traffic as one drives onto the highway. But at Difara, there is a large traffic jam all the time and there are some big SUV;s behind some real small cars. They want to push you off the road.

        1. re: son of a butcher

          son
          Very well stated. I think the traffic could be managed if they had the right "Traffic Agent' A system is only as good as it's implementation and continued enforcement. Based on JF's very honest posting, above, I'm not too optimistic, but maybe it will help a bit. At least it's better than doing nothing. :-}

        2. re: JFores

          some dude very knowingly took my pie once, as i stood right next to him. in the end, it's dom who decides who gets the pies when the crowd is heavy and whoever is there with him isn't keeping track well enough. i think he (unintentionally) tends to give it to whomever is pushiest, which is exactly the sort of of thing i really don't like to see.
          as i was saying, it was very clear (and stated beforehand by jr.) whose pie was next, but when dom took it out of the oven and told the guy it would be his, he did not refuse it. i didn't want to argue, so i didn't say anything.

          1. re: vvvindaloo

            "it was very clear (and stated beforehand by jr.) whose pie was next, but when dom took it out of the oven and told the guy it would be his, he did not refuse it. i didn't want to argue, so i didn't say anything'
            See? That's why I cannot go there.I would have pointed out that it was MY pie and then there probably would have been an arguement. I cannot accept unfair practices.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  The last time I checked the rule was that you spend 100 years in Purgatory for each line cut at DiFara's.

                  1. re: Bob Martinez

                    JF (AKA: The "Innocent Whistler")
                    When I read VV's first posting, you were the first person I thought of . lol!
                    If Bob is correct (And he usually is) You better start packing for really hot weather :-}

                    1. re: Tay

                      Well I do leave for Thailand tomorrow ;)

                      1. re: JFores

                        Great! I'll have to tell VVV that she can go back to DiFara's w/o fear of the 'Pizza Bandit' :-}

          2. I think the orderliness is going to last this time because the guy at the door is left-handed.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ilikepeas

              The guy ordering things around is the same glasses wearing dark haired son that has always been there.

            2. Ok, I live really far out in Queens, so I've only been to Difara's twice--and totally loved it each time, but I always pay attention to these animated threads about the trademark chaos/ordering/pushing/frustration etc.

              Well, I'm no restaurant manager--and this idea has probably been bandied about before--but wouldn't an really easy solution to this mess/confusion be for them to get one of those 'number' dispensers like they have at busy bakeries? It seems like that would eliminate the 'cutting' problem, and if it's done right, it seems like it would eliminate the mix-up-order problems, too...

              4 Replies
              1. re: JRogan

                I cannot figure out why they do not do that. I think Dom is just not that concerned about it, and figures that everyone will eventually get their pizza. Dom is concerned with not being rushed, and might think that any system would be like a time clock. He is in control of his actions and nothing, nothing, is going to make him move any faster or in ny other way other than what he wants to do. That's Dom. And that's why his pizza is what it is.

                1. re: NYJewboy

                  "I cannot figure out why ..."
                  It's a 1970's Brooklyn thing, I suspect the only reason they changed is because they were scaring away lucrative tourists, or perhaps the kids were threatening to quit, either way. Anyway back when it was a neighborhood place if it was crowded people just left, not workable with people flying in from god knows where.

                  1. re: Geo8rge

                    Actually, I think they changed it because Dom was having trouble remembering the orders. :-/

                2. re: JRogan

                  It would have to be a little more sophisticated than the simple bakery/deli numbers that control the order of the line. You would need something where the number is tied into the actual food order and the counter guy checks it before giving you the pizza, sort of like Taco Bell.

                  Seeing some of the behavior in that place you'd probably have a few characters atempting to counterfeit the numbers or work some other scam.

                3. Does anyone know if this new orderly system is still in place? Or was it a one day thing only? Because I''m a Di Fara's regular and I've seen orderly lines there on occasion. And I know enough not to get too excited about it because it's practically a certainty that the usual chaos will return to the joint on my next visit. And if it was a one-day thing, then I don't see the point to this thread. It's all been discussed thoroughly here already, and if we're talking about another one-day exception, well that's further proof that Dom's not changing his order-taking aspects, and the transient sanity that ensued on the OP's visit probably happened in spite of Dom, rather than because of.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: pizmet

                    pizmet
                    " know enough not to get too excited about it because it's practically a certainty that the usual chaos will return to the joint on my next visit"
                    Maybe if enough customers made a big deal of how much better/faiirer the system makes the visit, someone will listen and be encouraged to continue the practice. Couldn't hurt :-}

                    1. re: pizmet

                      i know from maggie that it is up to the 'child' on duty with dom...whatever they deem appropriate - order or chaos - that's how it's going to go that particular day.

                      1. re: pizmet

                        "Does anyone know if this new orderly system is still in place? Or was it a one day thing only?"

                        I saw the same "system" in place mid-April on a Saturday. It appeared to help a lot and allowed Dom to concentrate on the production. Pretty smooth except for a few guys pushing ahead to try and get slices. Still, for one reason or another I didn't get the grated cheese on top of the take-out pie. Good thing I looked in the box before leaving; the young man at the counter added it on. The round pie with mushrooms was excellent.

                        1. re: gnocchi

                          I have also at times not gotten my grated cheese. One must never be shy about mentioning it. That goes for basil and oil too.

                          1. re: NYJewboy

                            If this keeps up, it's only a matter of time before the cheese, and then the sauce are forgotten and before you know it, you'll be buying a crust in a box, :-}

                            1. re: Tay

                              well, i broke down and broke my own self imposed boycott. 5 of us wine posters from ebob and two significant others met this morning and shared some prosecco & rose with 2 round cheese pies and 1 square cheese pie. there was not much of a line & ordering went perfect. omg, i lived a morning in dom heaven. there is simply no better breakfast food on the planet! :-)

                              1. re: TBird

                                I am happy to have you back to your senses

                      2. Finally took a day off from work and made it down there for the first time today, around 1:30. There was definitely a system -- a woman in glasses was taking orders on a pad, there was a line, and the place had the atmosphere of a church -- everyone quiet, hopeful and orderly.

                        When we first got there, there was actually some confusion with some customers over whose pie was whose, but it was quickly and calmly resolved in an extremely friendly manner.

                        Needless to say the pie was really incredible, and we waited less than 20 minutes.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: feedcari

                          Hail Dom Jesus Batman DiMarco!!!!

                          1. re: NYJewboy

                            Again regarding the line system, I managed to get a pie in 20 minutes this last Sat and I finished eating before just about everyone who had arrived before me. If you tell Dom your order instead of getting put on the list it moves a looot faster.

                            1. re: JFores

                              JF
                              Sheeesh! That's the whole problem! When you "Regs" come in and circumvent the system, those ahead of you who are waiting their turn are pushed back on the line. It's just not a cool way to go.
                              In essence, by cutting the line, you received someone else's pie.

                              1. re: Tay

                                Tay: why not become a 'reg' yourself and enjoy the unfairness? I'll let you cut in front of me! (but of course I will have just cut in front of everybody else)

                                1. re: NYJewboy

                                  NYJ
                                  I SO knew you'd respond to my posting lolol! ...Of course you'd let me cut in front of you. You'd then proceed to cut in front of everyone!... You "Regs" are totally Incorrigible...:-}
                                  Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. Have I taught you nothing, Grasshopper?. It's just wrong to circumvent whatever attempt at fairness and order
                                  is being attempted. As much as you adore, idolize and otherwise, worship him, Mr DiMarco should refuse to take your (and everyone else's) order. He should refer you to "The List Maker" and should not sabotage the fragile, albeit obviously problematic, system being attempted. No one should be above the 'Law of the List.' No matter how (in)famous you happen to be.:
                                  If it's not fair to everyone, it's not fair to anyone

                        2. I'm going to NYC for the first time in a few days and staying in Brooklyn. Found out this place is very close, so I'm hitting up this place first. Any tips for surviving my first time here let alone eating in NY for the first time?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: groover808

                            Go in the afternoon, be aggressive on line (within reason), IMO don't get toppings, try the SQUARE

                            1. re: groover808

                              Go around 2pm-4pm on a week day, get a square slice while you wait if possible, order either a regular pie or a round with garlic, ORDER THE SECOND THAT YOU GET THERE, go STRAIGHT to the counter, order with either Dom or his son, and STAY at that counter. Occasionally ask Dom if the pie he's working on is your's and it might magically become your's. There is no line; only a mob of other people who want that pizza just as bad, but 9/10 times don't know how to even order. The number of out of towners and people from the city I've been seeing leaning against the drink machines and thinking that they have to wait until some sort of line dwindles down to order lately is amazing. You have to order immediately and even if you have moral issues about aggressively tackling the line (I'm going to hell but I could write a handbook to aggressive Di Fara ordering and no one has ever raised an issue with me), you still need to order the second you get there.

                              1. re: JFores

                                OMG, went tonight at around 5:30ish. Luckily there were only a few others there so I ordered with Dom and he started masterfully working on my pizza. Friend and I ordered a square pie with porcini mushroom, red onion, and garlic (she's vegetarian) so slim chance of anyone trying to swipe it. By the time we ordered and got some air outside (it's scorching today), there was a sizeable crowd. But I can say today there was no order, just Dom working away and ppl telling him their orders.

                                Pizza was fantastic, told my friend that phrase about sometimes chocolate being better than sex, well I think Di Fara's pizza can claim the same. Dom is the sweetest guy who truly loves making quality stuff. I have another week and a half in NY, if I don't make it to any other pizza joint, I will still be content that I had the best!

                                1. re: groover808

                                  This was inspired and inspiring groover808. Hail Dom Jesus Batman DiMarco.

                                2. re: JFores

                                  I agree with JFores' suggestion about the hours. I happened to be in the neighborhood yesterday at 4:15, walked right in and got a square slice within one minute! Halleliuah!!!!!!!!!