The best pizzas in New York City are found at its fringes—places that are a bit of a pain to get to if you don’t live close by. If you want to get to Lee’s Tavern in Staten Island or New Park Pizza in Howard Beach, you need a car. A well-done slice at Pizza Wagon is going to force you to take the R train to its next-to-last stop. Take the train down to Coney Island to have the religious experience of inhaling a pie from Totonno’s, and you’re still going to have to walk to the opposite side of the island from the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel, down to the glamorous strip where the auto body shops are found.
Getting to the legendary Di Fara Pizza used to require taking the B or Q trains to the Avenue J stop in Midwood, a predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Central Brooklyn. And then, once you finally arrived at its shabby corner storefront, you had to wait in line. A long line. When I was growing up in 1980s Brooklyn, the wait wasn’t too bad. Then the internet happened, and the wait times grew and grew until I found myself waiting an hour on a snowy Tuesday night for a small plain pie. What made the pizza so great was that every single pie made since the day they opened in 1965 was crafted by the hands of pizza master Dom DeMarco. As Di Fara’s popularity grew, Dom was growing older and slowing down, but still making every pie himself. The waits stretched longer and longer to the point where I stopped visiting Di Fara entirely. Sure, it was good pizza, but not hour-wait-in-a-snowstorm good. (I happen to think Totonno’s is better, but they’re closed on Tuesdays.)
Dom is now 83, and while he still makes the occasional pie, he’s mostly handed off the reins to his seven children. A second location has opened up in Williamsburg, the neighborhood that became famous as a hipster Bohemia and is now a playground for the ultra-wealthy. You can at last order their pizzas for delivery, thanks to GrubHub. And, starting today, you can order frozen Di Fara pizzas from anywhere in America, thanks to a partnership with Goldbelly. Two Neapolitan pizzas (in Brooklynese: round pies) will set you back a cool $69 (nice); two Sicilian pizzas (square pies) will cost you $129. These are the prices before shipping, though the first 1,000 pies sold will have those fees waived. As I write this the pies have been available for a little over an hour, and already the limited edition discount packages are completely sold out.
I haven’t tasted a pie from Di Fara in over a decade and haven’t thought about it much. To me, Dom DeMarco is Di Fara. Unless I’m watching his weathered hands carefully snip fresh basil over those melted pools of buffalo mozzarella, fior di latte, and grated Parmagiano-Reggiano, it’s just a pizza. But if you haven’t had the good fortune of tasting a Di Fara pie at least once in your life, you might want to throw this on your bucket list.