Anybody who is aware of me or has learn this weblog over the previous 14 years is probably going conscious of the truth that Di Fara is my favourite pizza place on the earth. In truth, a go to there within the early 2000s was one of many inspirations that led me to begin IDreamOfPizza. So I used to be deeply saddened to listen to the information that Dom DeMarco — the store’s founder and pizza maker for the previous 50+ years — handed away this week on the age of 85. It’s been heartwarming to see so many tributes and tales concerning the affect that Dom’s pies and presence had on so many individuals, myself included. So I assumed I’d dedicate this submit to wanting again on a few of my very own recollections of Dom, lots of which I’ve by no means shared earlier than.

Again in 2008, after I launched IDreamOfPizza, I wrote a protracted kind submit about my love of pizza. Here’s what I needed to say about Di Fara on the time:

As my love for pizza deepened, I started to do extra analysis on-line about the place I may discover the town’s greatest pie. All sources pointed to the identical place – Di Fara – a modest store within the Flatbush space of Brooklyn that has been serving its heavenly pizza for greater than 40 years. It’s owned and run by Dom DeMarco. He makes each single pie himself, working 12 hour shifts, 7 days every week. Apparently he takes 3 ½ days off a 12 months. If he’s sick, the store is closed. It shut its door for just a few weeks in 1988 when De Marco went to Italy and one other time in 2006 when he had foot surgical procedure. The strains have been identified to stretch for hours as he provides each single pie his undivided consideration. He likes to know who each pizza is for earlier than serving it to them. Watching him make a pie is like watching an artist paint a portray – in gradual movement. He makes use of a hand grater for the cheese and meticulously smears the tomato sauce on the dough.

I made my first journey on the market within the fall of 2006 and taking my first chew of pizza at Di Fara modified my life ceaselessly. Not solely was it one of the best slice of pizza I’d ever eaten (and nonetheless stays so), however I actually can say it was one of the best meals I’d ever consumed. There is no such thing as a description that might do every chew justice. Just a few steps away from the Flatbush Avenue cease on the Q prepare, it’s about 45 minutes from Midtown Manhattan. It’s a spot that each New Yorker ought to go. I can solely hope that De Marco continues to churn out his mouth watering pies for years to come back. For weeks after my go to I had desires concerning the pizza on a nightly foundation and solely want I may return there extra typically that I at the moment do.

Following this expertise, I started taking common journeys out to Di Fara with family and friends to share my love of Dom’s pies with them. Actually, anytime somebody was visiting from out of city, I made certain that Di Fara was a cease on our itinerary. In 2009, a graduate scholar at New Faculty reached out to me. She beloved pizza and was trying to make a brief movie on the topic. However she couldn’t fairly pinpoint the correct subject or angle. “Let me let you know about this pizza legend…” I instructed her.

The movie she ended up directing — a heartwarming 17 minute story about Dom and his household titled The Finest Factor I Ever Performed — is effectively value your time.

Round this time, I additionally correctly reviewed Di Fara on IDreamOfPizza. Right here is an excerpt from the assessment, titled: Di Fara – Merely The Finest Factor There Is To Eat In NYC:

Though phrases can’t do the expertise justice, listed here are a pair that come to thoughts after I take into consideration the pizza I’ve eaten there: epic, magical, legendary, orgasmic, life-changing. It’s that nice. Dom DeMarco’s pies are one of the best factor I’ve ever eaten. And the meals is barely the start. Watching him make pie after pie is like watching an artist create his masterpiece. Every bit of dough is a clean canvas. What occurs subsequent is heavenly. The sauce. The cheeses. The oil. The basil. The toppings.

To at the present time, it’s the one pizzeria I’ve ever awarded an ideal rating of “10.”

Under are some photographs from after I reviewed Di Fara, most of which I’ve by no means shared publicly earlier than.

Flash ahead just a few years late to 2013, when a present on The Cooking Channel reached out to me and wished to movie a section at my favourite pizzeria. There was little question the place I wished to go. I related the producers with Dom’s daughter. And some weeks later, I discovered myself staring in a actuality tv present at Di Fara (the present, which was referred to as Log On & Eat with Eden Grinshpan solely lasted one season — however the recollections of that day will final a lifetime!). You may view the complete six minute section right here.

Under are a few behind the scenes photographs from the shoot that day:

Round 2013, Di Fara additionally began renting out its area for personal events. I beloved reserving the area which made it simpler to deliver massive teams of pals to expertise Dom’s pies with out coping with lengthy wait occasions. You would deliver your individual drinks and luxuriate in Di Fara’s pies in a extra relaxed setting. I feel it was additionally much less aggravating for Dom and his kids — patrons weren’t continuously bombarding them asking how for much longer till their pies had been prepared.

One other enjoyable reality — though Di Fara doesn’t formally have a restroom open to the general public, there’s a restroom behind the store for workers to make use of. Throughout non-public occasions, when the store is closed to most of the people, friends are allowed to make use of it. On the finish of a non-public dinner in 2013, I used to be wandering again to make use of the lavatory, after I noticed Dom, sitting there alone, having fun with a glass of wine after a protracted day hovered over the oven. He appeared so content material, no one there to hassle him — a routine that I can solely think about was replicated hundreds of occasions through the years. I snapped three fast photographs and continued on. There have been many photographs posted on-line lately of Dom making pies. However I desire to recollect him like this: having fun with a drink after a day of labor, identical to many people do.

In 2015, I proposed to my girlfriend, Michelle. And given what number of particular moments the 2 of us had shared at Di Fara over the course of our relationship, I couldn’t consider a greater place to take a few of our engagement photographs (you may see most of the photographs right here: This Is What Occurs When You Take Your Engagement Pictures At Di Fara). We arrived on the store earlier than opening on a Sunday morning in September. There was a line outdoors and Dom was already beginning to make pies. Though a lot of the pictures our photographer captured had been of me and Michelle, in the direction of the tip of the shoot, we slid behind the counter and requested Dom if he could be in a photograph with us. He appeared up at our photographer, smiled, after which instantly returned to work, clipping leaves of basil over a contemporary pie. This was a very particular second — one I’ll always remember.

In 2015, I used to be additionally honored to be invited to a small gathering at Di Fara to have fun the store’s fiftieth birthday. Like each different evening, Dom was behind the counter making pies for family and friends. If there have been a Cal Ripken of pizza-making, it could be Dom. Day after day, for many years and a long time he confirmed as much as work and targeted on his craft. That is the final time I can recall seeing Dom behind the counter, though it’s doable he was there on a subsequent go to or two.

As Dom was seen on the store much less and fewer ceaselessly in recent times, members of the family and staff took over the everyday operations and pizza making, together with his son, Dom Jr. However even after I didn’t see Dom behind the counter, I nonetheless felt his presense in every single place… actually. Some years in the past, my sister made a portray of Dom, which hangs in my condominium hallway. And an autograph {photograph} of Dom — additionally a present from my sister — hangs in my kitchen, only a few toes from the place I stretch dough and high pies with an excessive amount of basil and olive oil on selfmade pizza nights.

There’ll by no means be one other Dom. The dedication to his craft. Over 1,000,000 pizzas made. The standard. The individuality of each pie. A visit to style one among Dom’s pies was an irreplicable expertise. He’ll be missed dearly. By neighborhood locals. By pizza fanatics. By foodies. By vacationers from across the globe. By anybody who was lucky sufficient to have one among his pies in the course of the 50+ years he manned the oven at 1424 Avenue J in Midwood, Brooklyn

Relaxation in peace, Dom. All of us miss you and are grateful for the enjoyment and deliciousness you delivered to so many people, for thus a few years.

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