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DiFara's

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went here saturday night waited 2.5 hrs for 2 round pies. 1st time here, pizza was great but not worth 2.5 hr wait and @ $20.00 a pop

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  1. Why would you go on a Saturday night?

    3 Replies
    1. re: JFores

      Saturday night is not impossible - weve done it a couple of times - and it is possible to park around there on Saturday night which is not always the case at other times.

      I think its all in managing the relations with Dom. I would not stand for 2.5 hr wait - they simply forgot about you. We always order other things (salad, pasta, soup etc) which keep us on his radar screen and hold us while we wait, and the square pie which is less susceptible to being sold for slices or takeout orders. Thats all I can recommend. There's not a pie in the world that I would enjoy after the aggro of that kind of wait. but this is NY where people line up for lots of things.

      1. re: jen kalb

        Ya know I've never thought of ordering other stuff. That's a good one to add to the scheme of things. I always strike up a conversation with him that interesting enough to keep resuming whenever's he's not busy. He'll finally cut me off and go "Regular pie, right?" after waiting for about 20 minutes no matter how busy it is. I've cut in front of horribly large numbers of people with that trick.

      2. re: JFores

        1st time trying them I guess u could say I'm a rookie LOL. they did a piece on him on tv during the week and I think thats why there was such a big crowd .the place was mobbed their where people waiting outside when we arrived I squeezed inside it was 4 deep and elbow rm only

      3. I don't mean to be rude, but why would you wait 2-1/2 hours?

        6 Replies
        1. re: efdee

          Because the man wants some pizza. What do you think.
          Still, they forgot about him. Maybe he should have taken the JFores approach and cut in front of someone on line.

          1. re: NYJewboy

            they didnt forget about us they were packed the guy who took our order had a pad with #'s written on the and as dom would make a couple of pies the kid would remove the old orders and relpace them with new ones when I placed my order I was # 61 the place was mobbed I guess after the tv show everyone wanted to try them. Thank god for the pies they make for slices other wise I wouldnt have had anything to eat in the 2.5 hrs waitind he only made 2 pies for slices so thank god I was at the counter to get what ever pizzas wasnt ordered by slices I had 3 slice af the square. dom also burnt 2 square pies that they threw out I was willing to take them LOL anyway the pizza was great but to wiat 2.5 hrs ???? as far as parking went I parked right in front maybe 2 stores down wasnt bad parking

            1. re: howster

              I hope you ate it in the car!

              1. re: NYJewboy

                1st pie was gone in seconds eveytime I inhaled another slice disappeared. 2nd pie I had to stopped breathing so my wife could have a couple of slices LOL they were delicious

            2. re: NYJewboy

              His one son's been really on top of orders lately. It's making life hard for me! Regardless, if you order with Dom it is WAY faster. I always place my order with his son in case all else fails, but then place it with Dom. Works like a charm.

            3. re: efdee

              yeah, i'd go to the next corner and get a slice and then eat it in front of his window...Dom's nice, his pizzas are great, but you gotta go off hours. He's also gotten way too expensive. Ask guideboy.

            4. The only appropriate mystique about this hole in the wall is why anyone goes there. The wait is ridiculous, it's the dirtiest "restaurant" I've ever been in, and the pizza is mediocre at best. The dough is cakey, not chewy, presumably because it hasn't been kneaded sufficiently, the sauce is nothing special, and perhaps one of you afficionados can expound upon the charms of a pizza maker waving his hairy arms, replete with cuts and burns, over my pizza, and digging his dirty hands into the grated parmesan, before clipping the limp basil over it.
              As for comparisons with Pepe's or Sally's: there is no comparison whatsoever. Please.

              34 Replies
              1. re: SAC29

                blasphemy....never had Pepe's or Sally's, but DiFara's is in my opinion, and that of many others, the best in NYC. I admit, it's not the cleanest restaurant by any means, but if you don't find the pizza delicious I'm not sure what to say. It's possible you got a bad pie, somehow....it's happened. I've never waited 2 hours, not even 1 hour. If you go to any popular place during peak hours you should expect waits and plan accordingly in my opinion. Same thing with Shake Shack, if you go at 1pm on a beautiful Saturday there will be a long wait...it's just a fact. I do need to get to Pepe's and Sally's though for a comparison.

                1. re: SAC29

                  Your average Neapolitan pizzeria (In Naples that is) makes Pepe and Sally taste like fatty cardboard slices. But they are quite clean.

                  Taste is subjective, and pizza might be the most subjective of all foods. It involves context, memory, and broad cognitive association. So I can't argue DiFara's on this. I like it a whole lot. Way, way better than anything in New Haven. But that's just me.

                  1. re: NYJewboy

                    i won't go tit for tat with you about naples. too little probability of a common ground. i never found anything there that made pepe's taste like anything other than great pizza.

                    what i would like to hear, again, is what distinguishes di fara from other "great" pizza. you know my response. _niente_ but fire away.

                    1. re: SAC29

                      I think that Dom can be way off (and often is). You know what that is like, and do not need to hear it from me.

                      But when he is on, way on, the 3 cheeses have a synergy that is very complex and subtle. The sauce has a discernible taste of sweet tomato and pork (I am talking the square only now), and plays off the cheeses really well. When it does not go south into sogginess (an admited flaw), the crust has a very firm coarse texture that burns so nicely with the cheese and sauce, making a delicious carbonized overtone with the rest of the flavors. On all of that is that olive oil. It adds a slight bitterness (very slight) and a buttery almost grassy aroma when not in the presence of too much heat.

                      Now I never get any toppings, except some garlic sometimes. When Dom is in rare form these elements sing together, and bring out qualities in each other you would never know they had. When sogginess, too much carbon, and missing or sloppily added ingredients do not mess with a good thing it is magic. Hope that was coherent.

                      1. re: NYJewboy

                        "Dom can be way off (and often is)..."
                        "When it does not go south into sogginess (an admited flaw)"
                        "When Dom is in rare form"

                        Those just aren't qualities I look for in a food that people go gaga over the way they do over DiFara. For the legend that goes along with it, it should be consistently good. I'd hate to wait the waits that DiFara is known for and have Don be in usual form instead of "rare form." Not to mention if it was any other place and not the exalted DiFara that was as filthy as (and closed by the board of health as often as) DiFara, the CH community would be screaming about it.

                        1. re: irishnyc

                          Well then there will be more for me. Worth it all around.

                          See you at Babbo's.

                        2. re: SAC29

                          Consistent: no, sadly not.

                          But for those rare slices it is all worth it. If you don't get it now you never will.

                          1. re: NYJewboy

                            Yeah, Jewboy, you're right. When Dom's on he's on. But why would anyone wait 2 hrs. YOu think he's gonnna be on on the night you wait two hours? That's ridiculous. Go on Monday at lunchtime.

                            1. re: zemilideias

                              I only go midday!

                              1. re: zemilideias

                                why on earth would anyone wait a month for a per se reservation?

                                why wait for anything?

                                clearly mcdonalds is sooooooo much more convenient -- therefore better -- than luger.

                        3. re: NYJewboy

                          I love Difara as much as NYJ, and think that the New Haven joints are just below Dom in the pizza heirarchy. But don't comment on the wait for a pie at DiFara when Pepe/Sally is your ideal. The lines at those places easy rival anything at DiFara. In fact, those places are as well known for the wait to get in as the excellent pies they serve. Add to all that a brutally surley waitstaff and pies that are often perfect but not infrequently far less so. The clam pie at Pepe, when done right,is a work of art, awesome. Most of the time I have gotten a pie from Pepe/Sally I had to eat it in my car after a phone order because with two kids I can't wait in line outside for hours. Like eating at Difara, I try to time my arrival to an off time when I can eat great pizza in a releaxed atmosphere.

                          1. re: stuartlafonda

                            I've never had anything but friendly or better service at Pepe. The pizza there is, indeed, a work of art. Hmmm, why is my mouth watering?

                            1. re: stuartlafonda

                              Not to mention the drive to Connecticut. Ninety minutes for me. Each way.

                              1. re: pizmet

                                Yeah its good alright, and more consistent than DiFara. But I am not so sure it is in the same league taste wise.

                                1. re: NYJewboy

                                  Oh I wasn't challenging Di Fara's pizza. It's the best I've ever had. I was just wondering about the soundness of driving an extra three hours just to avoid a long wait at Dom's. And the three hours of driving doesn't even include the wait at the Connecticut pizzeria itself.

                                  1. re: pizmet

                                    If it was just around the block I would probably eat there at least twice a week.

                                    1. re: pizmet

                                      New Haven's an hour and half from Bklyn and you can stop in for some pearls in Greenwhich on the way

                                      1. re: zemilideias

                                        Yeah. New Haven's 90 minutes from Brooklyn. But ya gotta get back after eating, right?

                                2. re: stuartlafonda

                                  Just wondering what is considered an off time?

                            2. re: SAC29

                              The dirtiest restaurant you've ever been in? Mate, where do you eat? It gets bad towards the end of the night when family of 300 #15 leaves all their stuff on the table, but there's no way Di Fara warrants "the dirtiest restaurant" you've ever been. The dough is chewy. When were you eating it? What season was it? What time of day? The texture changes a bit during the summer and the winter because the temperatures are obviously playing with the ovens. The dough is kneaded adequately and sits for a veeeery long time, I know this for a fact. His dough is actually REALLY good and you can buy it off of him on his slower days when he isn't worried about running out of it. The waits are rarely long if you don't leave the pizzeria, sit down, go at a peak hour, etc. The sauce is OK. Guys have hair on their arms. It's normal. Really, I assure you.

                              And give the square a shot.

                              1. re: JFores

                                I find the DiFaras vs New Haven argument fairly pointless. Pepes (we never penetrated Sallys in yrs of trying) is a restaurant which churns out hundreds of standardized pies every day with acceptable but hardly solicitous table service (try to get those waitresses to come back after they have dumped off your pies). Lines are ridiculous. Pies are - not as good as they were 30 years ago (is the fresh sausage and mozz really as good - doesnt the dough tend more toward cardboardy??) but yes they are still very good and I wish we could get clam pies as good in NY.

                                Di Faras is a quirky artisanal operation with less staff, space and service - the pies vary more but are IMO unbeatable in flavor. intensity and the dough is pretty darn good even when its not at its best. I wish I could bear up under the crowds better - its been a while since I have even tried seriously to eat there. - snagging a table makes all the difference.

                                1. re: jen kalb

                                  While I agree with most of what you write, why is the argument pointless? They both make pizza to great critical acclaim and are both famous for the mass crowds. Just because one is a huge operation and the other is not does not render the comparison pointless. It raises the questions of 1) is the pie really that great and 2) if so, how long would you wait to get one.

                                  1. re: stuartlafonda

                                    I meant it was pointless because they are really not alternatives - in different geographies and different types of places.

                                    I said what I think of the pies and the places - also with all the good pizza places rising up in NY Pepe's isnt really better IMO. DeFara's however remains unique.
                                    .
                                    We would never, ever wait as long as an hour for any food unless we had a seat and something to snack on/drink as we wait. We have walked away from both places when the crowds looked unbearable since waiting in a crowd has always been painful rather than recreational for us.

                                    So much for my resolution to never post on the diFara's thread again.

                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      it was a valiant resolution jen, I myself did not want to get into a DiFara bicker either, but it's hard not to stand up for what you (we) know is great. I'll be there on Saturday to take a good friend from Philly. We will be there early, like before noon, in hopes of defeating the terrible horde and the entire time I'll wait and watch Dom create those magical pizza's

                                      1. re: ginsbera

                                        I finally went for the first time right before the holidays. It was wonderful. I heard it's supposed to snow on Saturday. If so, then I wish for you the same luck we had when we went to DiFara's on the day it snowed -- virtually no wait, a table, and an amazing pizza. Oh, and a whole lotta fun (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/583619 ).

                                        1. re: LNG212

                                          I was there the same day! I absolutely suffered to get there, but I wolfed down an entire garlic pie single handedly about 15 minutes after getting there. Then I waited for a friend in Manhattan Beach who was stuck in traffic from out the island.... For like two hours.... Freezing....

                                          But decent pizza that day! To be honest though, that day worried me. His fridge was out and it was the first time I fully realized he had stopped putting any fresh mozzarella on round pies. I'm really leaning towards a square pie conversion. You get them faster too.

                                  2. re: jen kalb

                                    Great post!

                                    Very good explanation of the DiFara mystique.

                                    I don't argue anymore with anybody who doesn't like DiFara's. I tell them don't EVER go back and to tell all their friends that it is dump and don't ever go. Dom doesn't care and nor do I.

                                    1. re: Scagnetti

                                      I love all the "Dom's my buddy" posts. The "mystique" seems less about the soggy crusted pie, more about one's connection to the old world artisan (just minutes from Park Slope!).

                                      1. re: guide boy

                                        No guide boy, it really is the food.

                                        I know, I know, it looks like a whole other thing....but those who love it love the food before any other consideration. Just watch how fast we scamper back to eat it, and then 'poof' we are gone. No lingering to worship, no long goodbyes. Just the pizza.

                                  3. re: JFores

                                    The place was filthy. The refrigerator door didn't stay closed. The floor was covered with flour. The work counter was swimming in oil. The table at which I sat was sticky, as it had to be since there's no employee who cleans the "dining room." The walls were encrusted with dirt. The mozzarella sits out at room temp. He's got his dirty hands in the grated cheese which he then throws on the cooked pies. Guys can have hair anywhere they choose to let it grow. That doesn't give them a bye on the health code. His hands were filthy. I'll bet any sum you wish to match that the temperatures in the lowboy weren't even close to what the health code demands.

                                    No, "mate" it was noon on a Saturday in December, the dough wasn't chewy, it wasn't kneaded adequately, it's not "REALLY" good, the sauce is just that, "OK."

                                    So the wait isn't long if I get my pie to go, at 11am on a snowy Tuesday, and never leave the joint while Dom is working his magic? Gee, what noblesse oblige.

                                    1. re: SAC29

                                      just don't go again then, simple as that and a shorter wait for the rest of us! See you Saturday Dom.

                                      1. re: SAC29

                                        In some sense DiFara has cult status, and cult followers. It is the best meal for $10 in that area (and maybe the city), and if things are ridiculous locals, like me, just eat at one of the Jewish places near by. Remember they are cheap, that is the secret to infinite loyalty. When DiFara is on the mark, it is excellent. Additionally people like to think they know some secret place. The trip to Brooklyn and the gauntlet to get the slice just make it better.

                                        As far as hygiene goes the 900 deg F oven takes care of that.

                                        As to the Sally/Pepe comments, they are not in NYC and Modern is the best NH apizza.

                                        The real secret NYC pizza place is New Haven.

                                        1. re: Geo8rge

                                          "The real secret NYC pizza place is New Haven."

                                          You are quite correct Geo8rge!!! I was born and raised in New Haven, now living in Brooklyn. I recently took two native Brookynites to Pepe's AND Modern. They were floored!

                                          1. re: Brklynbobby

                                            went to DiFara on Saturday and got my pizza in record time....2 minutes for a whole plain pie!! They had just happened to make an extra and it was up for grabs. Also shared the square with sausage, which was excellent all around. Another successful DiFara visit on all levels.

                                  4. Tonite the square pie had all the elements in perfect alignment.

                                    Dom was on.

                                    1. Is it still reasonable to go around lunchtime on a weekday? How long would the wait be then? I'm wondering if DiFara's is starting to approach the Yogi Berra truism: "No-one goes there; it's too crowded!"

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Pan

                                        I was there yesterday around two and it was busy but no wait at all. I got two slices fresh from the oven and only waited long enough to watch Dom put on his finishing touches. Yummm.

                                      2. They did a piece on DiFara's on the local news a few days ago. I noticed that his daughter's last name is Miele. There used to be a really great pizza place in Ocean CIty, Maryland on the boardwalk named Miele's. I know it was owned by a family from NY and they only operated it in the summer (and had a pizza place someone in NY). Just curious if anyone knows if this might be the same family?

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: pizmet

                                          DiFara inflation: 44 yrs $0.15->$4.00 = 7.75%/year average.

                                          According to BLS.gov inflation calculator in 1964 $0.15 is equivalent $1.03 in 2008.

                                          The best they could do was find someone from Coney Island?

                                          1. re: Geo8rge

                                            I would like to think the DiFara inflation index is somewhat justified by his quality evolution over the years; we aren't talking about the same pie he made 45 years ago.
                                            As far as inconsistencies, it's a hand made product and you've got to expect some fluctuation from visit to vist.. You'll run into abberations at DiFara and I've encountered similar fluctuations at the various Pepe's in CT as well. But 9 times out of 10 these places are at the top of the pizza game, hence the hoardes and lines. A TV spot can only provide a momentary shot in the arm, he has to be something unique to keep them coming back.

                                        2. During the summer, went to see what all the hype was. Had a round pie. Limp slices. Nope, sorry. Not worth the wait or the prices. Still don't see what all the hype is.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: nooyawka

                                            I couldn't imagine dealing with all that fuss and aggravation over pizza. No, I guess I have not imbibed the kool aid.

                                            Plus, when I want super fresh and delicious pizza I can churn out my own dough and pies at home in far less time than any of this seems like it would take.

                                            1. re: richg35

                                              It's like what the buddha said regarding enlightenment: if you can just do it yourself, great. If not, then you need the path.

                                          2. The wait is about 75% shorter if I have my wife order directly from Dom. He really likes women. If she stands at the front and smiles at him it takes about 20 minutes.

                                            I don't know if she is his type (she does not look italian) but its worked the 5 or 6 times I've tried it.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: brooklyndude

                                              LOL, now that is funny!!!