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Subway to DiFara?

LA Hound finally going to DiFara later this month. I have a pregnant wife with me so our trip to DiFara is dependent on the weather. If it's 100 degrees I will not subject either of us to the subways. We're staying in Manhattan on the upper east side near the 4, 5 and 6. What is the best way to get to DiFara? I think it's probably the J train but I don't know what the stop is closest to DiFara as I'm not very familiar with Brooklyn.

Appreciate the help.

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  1. 1st, this really belongs on the outer borough board-so you may want to repost it there.
    You want the Q or B train (B doesn't run on weekends) to Ave J. There's work being done on that station, so you'd want to ride the back of the train on the way out. Note that to get out of the station now you have to climb up a set of stairs, walk over the track and then back down a set of stairs...so consider that when planning your trip. Print out a Google map so you know where you are.
    Also-note the hours and days they are now open...
    http://www.difara.com/

    2 Replies
    1. re: David W

      Thanks for the reply. I forgot about the outer borough board.

    2. With a pregnant wife your problem isn't the subways - they're air conditioned. DiFara's, on the other hand, isn't. The temperatures in New York can range into the upper 90s in July (it's 101 today) and with the pizza oven cranking away the inside of DiFara's can be punishing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bob Martinez

        What Bob Martinez said. There's a ceiling fan or two but it gets very toasty in there.

        On occasion, Dom will even close the shop if it gets too hot (he did so on Sunday a few weekends ago). Don't forget about factoring humidity and potential wait time for food (could be 1-2 hours dependent on crowds); hopefully your wife will be able to sit down while waiting.

        Check their Facebook page for the latest updates, I think Maggie (his daughter) updates it regularly.

        http://www.facebook.com/difarapizza

        For transportation, I ALWAYS check mta.info for service advisories. The MTA has a way of doing construction on the only lines you need :

        )

        They also have a trip planner that will tell you what trains to take. You can also use Google Maps or Hopstop.com for subway directions (point to point with time estimates).

      2. DiFara has fantastic pizza, but as someone who is pregnant it is one of the last places I would want to be. It can be very hot and stuffy in there, at times crowded, limited seating, etc. Also, the wait time for pizza can be excruciating. Again, I love DiFara but can't imagine going there with the temperature over 80 degrees, and forget when it's nearing 100. And yes, this all belongs on the outerboroughs board.

        4 Replies
        1. re: dr. katz

          I'm going to take the advice of the Dr. If it gets too hot in NYC like it was this past weekend we'll avoid DiFara. The plan is to go there first thing Friday before the rush. If we get there by around 11:30 and it isn't too hot I'm hoping the lack of ventilation will be tempered by the early morning start.

          The plus is that my wife wears long pants and sweaters to sleep every night in LA so she doesn't mind the heat.

          If the heat is unbearable are any of these worth the trip and more comfortable for the wife?
          Lucali
          Spumoni Gardens
          Grimaldi's
          Sam's Chop House

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          Lucali
          575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          Grimaldi's
          1 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          1. re: js76wisco

            It starts to get really uncomfortable outside WELL before 11:30am in New York City in the summer, and don't forget that it can be VERY humid here. And you're usually stuck underground while waiting for the subway (sometimes with no circulation, so it's muggy and stuffy). Luckily, the cars are air-conditioned, usually, but there's always the climb back up the stairs to street level to contend with once you get off the train.

            Dom also cranks up those pizza ovens up to a very high heat and is constantly opening and closing the ovens to check on the pits. Sometimes I've gotten there before noon and Dom's not ready yet....

            1. re: kathryn

              I guess we'll have to play it by ear. Hopefully the weather we've been having in LA comes out your way. It actually rained today and has been very comfortable the last few weeks in the 70s. It hasn't rained in July in LA forever - the average precipitation is 0.02 inches in July.

              I guess my back up plan will be somewhere in the city like Keste or Motorino. These are still leaps and bounds better than anything in LA minus Mozza, Joe's and Vito's. I've been trying to get out to Brooklyn and specifically for DiFara for so long. Maybe Sam Champion can help me out?

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              Motorino
              319 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

              1. re: js76wisco

                If you were willing to make the trek all the way out to DiFara's, I would definitely suggest Salvatore of Soho in Staten Island. You can take a ferry to SI, then take the train to a nearby stop. not a far walk. It's probably my favorite pizzeria in nyc and it's just an amazing experience every time. you will not regret it.

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                Salvatore of Soho
                1880 Hylan Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10305

        2. with a pregnant wife, make sure to go on the weekday. preferably wed or thurs.
          and what other people said - it can get hot and smokey in there. comfort is the last thing on their mind at DiF

          13 Replies
          1. re: Jeffsayyes

            Its a dump - by which I mean a very humble place - but they are nice people and sometimes it is not crowded, in the gap between lunch and dinner on a weeday.. . I hope it goes ok for OP and wife.

            If the weather is untenable, either Franny's (lunch only a couple of days in the week) or Lucali (dinner only) will be a better pick but the product is different.

            1. re: jen kalb

              It's gotta be lunch otherwise it sounds like Lucali is out of the question. I hear very mixed reviews about Grimaldi's and the wait sound hellish. Maybe we'll try Franny's if the weather doesn't cooperate. Thanks.

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              Lucali
              575 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              Grimaldi's
              1 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

              1. re: js76wisco

                DO NOT BOTHER with Grimaldi's. Please. This is insider info.

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                Grimaldi's
                1 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                1. re: js76wisco

                  Franny's is delish but the tables are small and quarters cramped. It's also the most expensive pizza restaurant in NY... However, I do think it's a better bet than DiFara simply because it's air-conditioned. Di Fara is warm even in winter. That oven is blazing and it would be torturous for your wife to be pregnant, sweating and eating hot pizza in a hot room.

                  1. re: Pookipichu

                    Franny's is not more that Co. or Keste. It is certainly fairly priced.

                    1. re: brooklyndude

                      Haven't been to Keste or Co. Price is not that much higher... until you consider the portion size. The pizzas at Franny are small and thin and light on toppings. The appetizers are small as well. Ordered an orange salad, four segments of an orange, drizzled with olive oil and a few pieces of onion for $7. A few paper thin slices of soppressata for $10. Pizza was $33 for two personal sized pizzas and we were still hungry afterwards. Over $60 for a pizza night is VERY expensive. AT DiFaras, Nick's Pizza, Fornino's, etc. a large pizza feeds two, just by itself.

                      I appreciate quality but they're not making gold here... it's flour, water and barely enough meat to offend a vegetarian.

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                      Fornino
                      187 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                      1. re: Pookipichu

                        Franny's has gotten bashed to death over this -but there is really no comparability. Franny's offers salads, cooked dishes, wines and other items in a nice environment, in addition to the pizzas. If all you are focussing on is size of pizza and price, yes, its considerably more expensive, but if you care about the overall experience - and also fine pizza, made with excellent home-cured meats and other high quality ingredients - Franny's is very much worth considering as an alternative destination. in Brooklyn if DiFara's doesnt work.

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                        Franny's
                        295 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          I agree with jen kalb. I go to Franny's for the fantastic house made terrine, crostinis (especially pancetta + ramp butter), pastas, dessert. You really need appetizers and a pasta there to make it a full meal -- pizza is just one component of the experience.

                          The crust on the pizza can be distressingly thin sometimes but it varies from day to day. The first time I went, it was like paper. Subsequent visits were better.

                          I've been to Keste, Co., and Motorino, and all of their pies are substantial enough to make one pie your meal. Franny's is not.

                        2. re: Pookipichu

                          $60 is $60. I don't think that is too much for a really good meal, even if it is pizza.

                          If you haven't been to Keste or Co. you shouldn't comment on what the cities most expensive pizza is. Both places offer pies over 20. So did Una Pizza Neopolitana.

                          Their meatball pie has a generous amount of meat on it, as did a sausage pie I had recently.

                          1. re: brooklyndude

                            Franny's is not a restaurant that operates in the back of a car repair shop off the subway that does something that can compare to Per Se. I don't think that makes VERY EXPENSIVE. Masa is very expensive.

                            1. re: brooklyndude

                              Are you comparing Franny's to Per Se? I think all this huff is ridiculous considering I did not "bash" Franny's or compare it to a car repair shop restaurant whatever that means...

                              I don't care enough about pizza to argue. Basically an out of towner is asking about pizza and I am advising this person that the portions at Franny are much lighter than might be expected and that the bill will be a lot higher than your typical pizzeria, even a high end one. I said that Franny's is delish, but expensive. They sprinkle tiny bits of cheese and smallest morsels of meat. I've seen a 5-7 year old girl finish a pie by herself. These are important factors that I would want to weigh in choosing a place and yet at the end of the day I said it still might be worth it vs. Di Fara because his wife is pregnant and the ambiance and air conditioning at Frannys make it a better bet.

                              I fully admit I might be wrong in stating it is the most expensive pizza NYC, I haven't been to every pizza store, you win. Yay, that's so helpful to the original poster...

                          2. re: Pookipichu

                            A large pie from all the pizzarias I know would stuff the dickens out of two average people if they ate the whole thing. Even by typical American overeating standards. That's four slices each.

                    2. re: jen kalb

                      Here are Di Fara's hours from their web site, BTW.

                      Wednesday through Sunday (Closed Monday and Tuesday)
                      Lunch from 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
                      Dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

                  2. Do your wife, your baby-to-be and yourself a favor and choose from the gazillion or so local pizza places dotting almost every block. All of them wil be better than what you have in LA.

                    1. Since you're staying on the UES head north to Patsy's. First Ave bus takes you right there, nice a/c.

                      1. Check their vacation schedule. They plan to be closed for a while.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MoxieBoy

                          This is correct according to the facebook page. I was there last weekend and they said that they would be closed for a few weeks.

                        2. I ended up not taking the subway and waiting in line for DiFara because the week we went was in the upper 90s with high humidity. Patsy's on the UES was also closed as another posted mentioned.

                          Instead we went to Grimaldi's. It was my first ever visit and the only reason we went is because my friend knows Joe very well, the old guy at the front who let's people in the door. We went in without having to wait, I felt a little guilty about that considering the line outside was about 40 to 50 people. I think many have summed up Grimaldi's very well. The pizza was good, the mozzarella and sauce on the pizza meshed very well, sauce may have been a touch too sweet. The pepperoni was killer after being cooked and getting a nice crust. The crust was a bit soggy and wish it would have been a little more crisp. I'd kill to have this in LA but I would never wait 90 minutes + for the pizza.

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                          Grimaldi's
                          1 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201