Wednesday, March 22, 2023

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Saying Goodbye To Di Fara’s Dom DeMarco, A Pizza Legend

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 this planet. The truth is, 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 influence that Dom’s pies and presence had on so many individuals, myself included. So I believed I’d dedicate this put up to trying again on a few of my very own recollections of Dom, a lot of which I’ve by no means shared earlier than.

Again in 2008, once I launched IDreamOfPizza, I wrote a protracted kind put up 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 might discover town’s finest 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 yr. If he’s sick, the store is closed. It shut its door for a number of weeks in 1988 when De Marco went to Italy and one other time in 2006 when he had foot surgical procedure. The traces 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 isn’t a description that might do every chew justice. Only some 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 goals concerning the pizza on a nightly foundation and solely want I might return there extra usually that I at present 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 College reached out to me. She liked pizza and was seeking to make a brief movie on the topic. However she couldn’t fairly pinpoint the fitting subject or angle. “Let me inform you 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 Executed — is nicely price your time.

Round this time, I additionally correctly reviewed Di Fara on IDreamOfPizza. Right here is an excerpt from the evaluation, 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 once 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 simply 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 images from once I reviewed Di Fara, most of which I’ve by no means shared publicly earlier than.

Flash ahead a number of years late to 2013, when a present on The Cooking Channel reached out to me and needed to movie a phase at my favourite pizzeria. There was little doubt the place I needed 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’ll be able to view the total six minute phase right here.

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

Round 2013, Di Fara additionally began renting out its house for personal events. I liked reserving the house which made it simpler to deliver massive teams of pals to expertise Dom’s pies with out coping with lengthy wait instances. You might deliver your personal drinks and revel in Di Fara’s pies in a extra relaxed setting. I believe it was additionally much less disturbing for Dom and his youngsters — patrons weren’t continually bombarding them asking how for much longer till their pies have 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 personal occasions, when the store is closed to most 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 toilet, once I noticed Dom, sitting there alone, having fun with a glass of wine after a protracted day hovered over the oven. He regarded so content material, no one there to hassle him — a routine that I can solely think about was replicated hundreds of instances through the years. I snapped three fast images and continued on. There have been many images posted on-line not too long ago of Dom making pies. However I want 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 images (you may see most of the images right here: This Is What Occurs When You Take Your Engagement Photographs 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 many of the photographs our photographer captured have 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 regarded 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 night time, Dom was behind the counter making pies for family and friends. If there have been a Cal Ripken of pizza-making, it will be Dom. Day after day, for many years and many years he confirmed as much as work and centered on his craft. That is the final time I can recall seeing Dom behind the counter, though it’s attainable he was there on a subsequent go to or two.

As Dom was seen on the store much less and fewer continuously lately, members of the family and workers took over the day after day operations and pizza making, together with his son, Dom Jr. However even once I didn’t see Dom behind the counter, I nonetheless felt his presense all over the place… actually. Some years in the past, my sister made a portray of Dom, which hangs in my residence hallway. And an autograph {photograph} of Dom — additionally a present from my sister — hangs in my kitchen, only a few ft from the place I stretch dough and high pies with an excessive amount of basil and olive oil on home made 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 in all 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 in all his pies through 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 dropped at so many people, for thus a few years.


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