Who doesn’t love pizza? There are blogs and websites dedicated solely to it, numerous Food Network specials highlighting it, and I challenge you to find a grammar school in this country that isn’t serving it for lunch on a Friday. It’s something everyone, young and old, has an opinion on. Whether the crust should be thick or thin, plain or with toppings, heavy sauce or heavy cheese. I had a really bad Algebra teacher in High School that liked to joke with the students that the things all people had in common were sex, the weather, and taxes – (kind of an odd joke considering half our teachers were nuns, and none of us were old enough to be paying taxes). It would have made much more sense if he had just said that what we all had in common was the weather, and pizza (I mean, even the guys in the A.V. Club had all had pizza).
When you live in NYC, on any given day of the week, you have the luxury of selecting from maybe a hundred or so purveyors of the world’s best pizza. What’s that you say? You come from a great pizza town too? Look, I’m sure you very well may come from a town in, I don’t know, maybe Nebraska that has this one really great pizza place that gets raves and raves and people line up for like 2 weeks in the middle of winter to buy it, and Oprah and Gayle took their private jet into town just so they could eat it, but seriously, that’s like, one place, and the truth is, a New Yorker could probably walk into a Famous Ray’s, or an Original Ray’s, or a Famous Original Ray’s and in less than five minutes buy a $2 slice that would rival it. So unless you live in Italy or something, spare me the angry emails.
My husband and I, if you haven’t already guessed, happen to love pizza (we even had our wedding rehearsal dinner at one of the Manhattan Totonno’s locations), and while we haven’t tried all of them, we have manged to fit in a good number of the more famous pizza spots, particularly the ones located in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Some of the more famous places that make up our favorites list (like Grimaldi’s and Lombardi’s) are sit-down establishments, places where you sit at a table, order an entire pie, and are served by a sometimes surly waiter. Others, which we have less traveled to, are typical pizza joints, where you can order by the slice. One such famous place is DiFara’s, in Midwood, Brooklyn.
For those of you unfamiliar with NYC, particularly Brooklyn, let me try and paint the picture for you. On the one hand, you have yuppie Brooklyn. These are the neighborhoods of Brooklyn within a 15 minute subway ride of Manhattan, where charming restaurants and wine bars abound, cute boutiques sell $35 t-shirts, and celebrities buy 3 million dollar brownstones in which to raise their adorable babies whom they name after various fruit and fauna. Then on the other hand, you have deep Brooklyn. These are the neighborhoods where generations were born and raised, people have Brooklyn accents, and ethnic enclaves remain untouched by the impending yuppiedom just a mile or so yonder. Midwood, Brooklyn, where DiFara’s is located, is one such enclave. That would make perfect sense, of course, if Midwood were an Italian neighborhood, but it’s not. It is actually an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. Go figure.
So after a subway trip into deep Brooklyn, to the appropriately named Avenue J train stop, we emerged in Midwood. Amidst the Kosher butchers and Judaicas, we began our search for DiFara’s. We had read that DiFara’s is always packed, so we kept our eye out for a busy storefront…which explains why we walked right past it (Cue the horn section):
Horns: Wah Wah Wah Wahhhhhhhhh….
It turns out that the NYC Board of Health has been on a tear lately, and busted the legendary pizzaiolo, Dom DeMarco, for refusing to wear a hat and gloves while making his famous pies. Isn’t that lame? I mean, when is the last time you ordered latex on your pizza? Here was the note left by the family:
Oh well. I guess we will have to wait a little longer to try what is supposedly the best pizza in the City. Until then, we have a newish local spot called Franny’s that’s been earning rave reviews.