If you ask New Yorkers where the best pizza in the city is, chances are they will say Di Fara. It routinely shows up on nation-wide best-of lists, and has been featured on numerous television shows. People make pilgrimages to Di Fara, as if it was the holy grail of pizza. It’s been eleven years since my first (and only) visit. Thats kind of crazy, considering how close I live to it. Whenever I thought about going I remembered how long it took to be served, and how expensive it was, and ended up not returning. On a recent summer afternoon I went on a whim, and sure enough it was crowded, and there was a group wearing matching t-shirts reading “Brotherhood of Pizza Enthusiasts”. There wasn’t much of a line, though, mostly people just waiting. I noticed Dom wasn’t making the pizza that day, which I understand is happening more frequently, but there was still a 35-45 minute wait for a pie. The last time I was there a single slice was $4, now it was up to $5. In these days of dollar pizza slices that’s an outrageous amount. Still, I approached the counter and asked for a single slice. The woman at the counter started to write my order down, but then stopped. She conferred with another person, and then handed me a plate with a large misshapen slice with a smaller slice right next to it. “There was a torn slice,” she said, “so you can have that one too.” Yes, I got a slice and a half from Di Fara with no waiting at all for the price of one. I took my plate outside to eat.
The pizza was better than I remembered. The crust was chewy and crisp, with just the perfect hint of char. The sauce and the cheese were nicely seasoned and it all worked together in a great pizza balance. I remembered then that $1 pizza slices are terrible, and sometimes it’s worth paying extra for the good stuff. I don’t know if Di Fara’s is the best pizza in the city or the country, and that kind of thing is subjective anyway. What I do know is that Di Fara makes a mighty good slice of pizza — and I think it’s even better when you don’t have to wait for it.
Di Fara — 1424 Avenue J