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Hold the Phones, Alert the Media- Just had a BAD PIE at DiFara

So, I would not call myself a regular at DiFara, but I have been there 5 or 6 times, so I know what to expect and how great the pies are. Yesterday a friend and I made the trek to DiFara since he had never had it before and I constantly tell him how great it is.

We arrived at 12:45 and I quickly went to the front to Dom's son and but in an order for 2 square slices and a round pepperoni pie. Right after placing the order, Dom took out a plain square pie and asked whose it was, to which a woman in the corner said, that is mine. Then, a man at the front of the place said to Dom, in a soft spoken and whiny voice, "I was here before her and had a square pie." Well, Dom being Dom said, "So, you can't speak up? Look at all these people, I can't keep track, you have to speak up." My friend looked at me and he this was not the normal pizza joint.

We stood at the counter and watched the pies go in and come out, Dom working like the pizza master he is. About half an hour after we arrived Dom took a square pie out of the oven and called out asking who had the plain square and I noticed that the person who ordered it was not there so I quickly jumped in and said I was waiting for two square slices. Dom's son cut me square slices and he said, and you're still waiting for the pepperoni pie, which I replied yes.

After our little square slice snack, we continued to watch Dom at work and about 20 minutes later Dom's son brought out the bin of pepperoni's, which meant our pie was about to be made. I always stand next to the inside end of the counter where Dom's son takes the orders, that way I know what orders were placed before and after mine so I can have some order in my head. I knew that the only other pie with pepperoni was before us and it was a garlic/ pepperoni pie, so either way, it was their pie and then ours, so I was excited.

Dom then made the garlic/ pepperoni pie and then made a square pie (which was a combined order). After putting the square in the oven, Dom got to work on a round pie, grating the cheese and applying the sauce. After he spread the cheese, I had to step away for two seconds to take a phone call. I then came back to my spot at the counter and Dom's son checked his list and brought Dom two more pieces of dough and told Dom he needed to make a pepperoni and a special. Dom told his son he already made the pepperoni pie and it was in the oven, so his son took away the pepperoni bin, which I was fine with since I had thought he made my pepperoni pie after the garlic/ pepperoni pie.

A couple of minutes later, Dom pulled out a beautiful crackling pie with pepperoni and I waited anxiously. He put it down and I saw it was the one with garlic as well, but I knew I would be up next. Dom's son sliced that pie for the other customer and said to me, you pepperoni is in and will be out in a couple of minutes.

There were 3 round slices that had been sitting out for 10 minutes from a previous slice pie and someone came in and ordered one. Dom was working on a square pie and Dom's son threw the slice into the oven for a reheat and peaked in to notice that Dom had an almost done plain pie in the oven, but no pepperoni. He said to Dom that he was waiting on the round pepperoni and asked why there was a plain pie in the oven. Dom said he made the pepperoni, which he did, but it also had garlic. I now realized that the pie that went in while I stepped away was a plain, not pepperoni, and had been baking for 6 or 7 minutes. Dom's son then went to the back and got the bin of pepperoni again and said to me, sorry about that and told Dom he needed a round pepperoni. Now, since we already had our square slices and because I know the rules of DiFara and would happily have waited another hour for that pie, I wasn't upset or anything and I said don't worry about it.

What happened next was something I have never seen happen at DiFara and led to great disappointment.

Dom opened the oven to throw in the square pie and he checked on the plain pie. It had about another 2 minutes left to cook and he sort of stared at it for a moment, examining the char on each side like a professor. Then, he reached to the bin of pepperoni and scattered them on the almost done plain pie. I sat and watched and thought, I hope that isn't my pepperoni pie. Well, indeed it was. He pulled out the pie 2 minutes later and brought to where I was at the end of the counter and said, "you're pepperoni right"? I actually considered saying no, but I knew no one else was waiting for a pepperoni, so I said yes.

The pepperoni just sat on the top, not blended into the cheese, not charred or anything. It was basically still raw. He then added the shredded cheese and a cut off some amazing smelling basil. Then, he did something else that I have never seen him do (This may not be that irregular, I am not sure, but in the 7 or 8 hours I have spent watching him in my lifetime, I have never seen it), he drizzled more oliver oil onto the pie. Now, I essentially had a beautiful plain pie with raw pepperoni sitting atop and a ton of olive oil soaking it.

I thanked Dom and brought the pie to our table. My friend already had a square slice earlier, which he quickly said was the best pizza he ever had. We dug into the pie and the pepperoni was literally still cold and since their pepperoni tends to be thick (which is what I love because when cooked correctly, it gets done perfectly and blends right into the pie) it stood out. And, Dom had drizzled so much olive oil on it, that it soaked through the crust. My friend said, wow, this is terrible, especially after that unebelievable square.

A pie cooked by Dom with too much OO and cold pepperoni is still better than 95% of the pizza out there, but I was literally shocked that Dom would even do such a thing as adding pepperoni on a plain pie so late in the game. I know that Dom puts so much effort and care into each of his pies. When he makes a plain round pie and then just throws on pepperoni so late into the cooking process, it's like having a baby girl and dressing her in boys clothes so she thinks she is a boy, but, at the end of the day, it is still a girl. This pie clearly wasn't meant to be pepperoni and it tasted that way.

I am not sure what went wrong here. I had been chatting pleasantly with Dom's son and Dom for most of the time I was there and had a great repoire with them and I appreciated Dom's son staying on top of my order. But, greatness should never be rushed. After my first slice of the pepperoni pie, I considered going back and saying something, but I have never heard of anyone complaining and I didn't want to be the first. I know how great their pizza is and chalked it up to some weird event in the universe.

I know feel like I have to prove something to my friend who was a first timer and left disappointed. I am going back next week with him to have a re-try.

I just thought I would share my experience and see if anyone has had this happen before.

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    1. I am sorry to hear about your troubles, but your post made me laugh as I am sure that the artichoke square pie and the round pepperoni and garlic part of your fiasco was for my group. It was my first Di fara experience. Although the pizza was fantastic and we had no troubles with the service, Dom seemed quite confused behind the counter. He could make the pizza, but he seemed to not remember anything told to him just moments before. I guess this is the norm, but I did not him expect him to actually seemed confused.
      I guess it is a roll of the dice with this place.

      6 Replies
      1. re: SpiceJunkies

        Haha, that is funny. Yup, I remember the square artichoke pie. It's a roll of the dice, but I will gladly keep going back.

        1. re: offthebeatenpath1

          And I can't believe by buddy ordered a pepperoni w/ garlic. Certainly not the greatest topping combo. And the garlic chunks were in piles on the pizza. By the end I was picking off the garlic. At least it gave me something to bust my friends chops about.

          1. re: SpiceJunkies

            Haha, I did notice that when the pie came out the garlic was quite enormous. When you were in the back, I actually said to Dom's son, I will just take that one, but I am kind of glad I didn't. I like garlic, but I am thinking my breath would have been quite pungent if I ate that pie.

            1. re: offthebeatenpath1

              I'm compelled to comment because it's excellent that you were there at the same time. I often wonder about that when I'm eating out.

        2. re: SpiceJunkies

          Uh-oh.

          This sounds a bit like when I posted a few months back here:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52017...

          and said:

          "Actually, I think they changed [they system] because Dom was having trouble remembering the orders."

          1. re: Peter

            It was the same son, but he wasn't tearing off the orders and putting them in front of Dom. He just wrote them down and brought out the appropriate toppings for whatever pie he hoped Dom would create next.

        3. The original comment has been removed
          1. I'm pretty sure that Dom usually (if not always) puts olive oil on the round pies after the cheese and basil at the end.

            2 Replies
            1. re: abee

              he always puts more olive oil on the top of a pie, everytime.

            2. I had a bad square about a month ago. It tasted very yeasty and dense. I chalked it up due to the stormy conditions that day. Like you said, it was still better than 95% of what's out there.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Joe MacBu

                I went to DiFara today and again had a similar experience with the square pie. The dough was dense, though not quite as yeasty tasting. Of course, today was a very rainy day as well. I also had the pizza right after he opened shop.

                Has anyone else found this to be the case, or am I just getting unlucky lately? To clarify, the previous 10 or so squares I've had there have been superb.