How to Get a Taste of DiFara's
This is what it looks like, kids. Read on to see how to get it. (And click to admire its vegetable fecundity)
I first ate at DiFara's years ago in the company of Jim Leff, the chowhound.com founder whose most durable legacy is not his former website, but the elevation of a besieged neighborhood pizza parlor in Midwood to the status of greatest pizza in the world. Luckily, the bewilderd Dom was able to continue and even improve his slice under the bombardment of non-stop adulation, so that now his pizza is often even better (when he doesn't burn it) than it was a decade ago.
I stepped into the sunny, herb-filled, disheveled room that is his pizzeria on a recent Saturday. There was a line out the door, but there were far more pizzaistas inside, drumming their fingers on the cracked formica tables, texting and twittering and allowing huge sighs to issue from their lips.
"How long is the wait?" I asked the most despondent-looking of them, a middle-aged guy with a couple of small kids who later identified himself as a resident of Patchogue, who'd driven a long way to get a taste of the famous pizza. "Two hours for a pie," was his reply, the kids climbing up and down his arms and obviously famished.
Well, five minutes later I was out in the street with a slice, smacking my lips at how good it tasted. How did I do it?
The trick is knowing what you're eating. DiFara's has always been and remains a neighborhood pizza parlor. Neighborhood denizens need to be able to run in and grab a slice -- just like at a neighborhood pizza parlor. For that reason, Dom always has a pie working in the oven to be sold as slices. All the people waiting are waiting for pies. It's like a macho thing -- they must score a whole pie or the world will end. Hence the absurd wait.
Be content to have a single slice straight from the oven, and don't be particular whether it's a Sicilian slice, a Neapolitan slice, or -- what the hell -- the fabled artichoke slice. It's only a neighborhood pizza parlor, after all. And no, I'm not going to tell you where it is.