How Di Fara became a New York pizza institution

  • With fans like Leonardo DiCaprio and the late Anthony Bourdain, Di Fara Pizza is considered one of the most legendary pizza shops in NYC.
  • It opened in 1965 by Domenico “Dom” DeMarco, an Italian immigrant who still runs the shop today with the help of his children.
  • We visited to learn about its history and taste one of Dom’s legendary pies.

Following is a transcript of this video.

Narrator: Ask anyone in New York City what their favourite pizza place is, and the results might overwhelm you. With thousands of options in this city, crowning the absolute best is highly subjective and nearly impossible. But no matter who you ask, there’s one place that consistently ranks at the top of the list. Di Fara Pizza was opened in 1965 by Domenico DeMarco, an Italian immigrant and known workaholic who’s barely taken a day off in over 50 years. Today, his kids handle most of the business, but Dom is still there in the background keeping an eye on things.

Michael: I’ve been here since I was 7. That was when I started hanging around with my father here. I mean, you know, hanging around, you’re not really taught, you just see everything, you just start doing it, and that’s kinda what happened.

Margaret: My dad started the business in 1965 and basically worked seven days a week to support the family. He just worked hard. He just loved what he did. He’s very passionate about work, and he doesn’t take any shortcuts, which in the modern world now, I think all of us are. We work very hard at sourcing the proper ingredients, and he, to this day, was always trying to find the best of everything: the best olive oil, the freshest basil.

Narrator: Dom’s pies are made with all imported Italian ingredients and cooked at an extreme heat until they blister. Most people argue the secret is in the olive oil, which they generously drizzle over the entire pie both before and after it goes into the oven. To give it that signature Di Fara look, every pie is finished with some freshly cut basil. Of course, using all imported ingredients doesn’t come cheap, but with fans like Leonardo DiCaprio and the late Anthony Bourdain, it’s worth the $US5 slice and infamously long wait times.

Customer: This is the best pizza because it’s just the way the cookie crumbles. It’s the best pizza.

Customer: It’s the olive oil, the technique. I mean, it’s all awesome.

Customer: We came from Oklahoma to get this pizza.

Narrator: A Di Fara pie is packed with flavour and best eaten fresh out of the oven.

Spencer: Ahh! It smells unreal. Mmmm. Mhmmmmm. Right off the bat, you get that tomato sauce. You can tell instantly that is a high-quality tomato sauce. It tastes like they just squished a beautiful tomato fresh off the farm and put it on this pizza and then cooked it up. D—, that’s good.

Margaret: It turned into being like the best local pizzeria, and then we got recognitions, best in New York, and then best in America, and then best in the world. So I feel extremely grateful because my dad did sacrifice his whole life. You know, he’s in his 80s now and slowin’ down a bit, but my goal would be to expand the brand as long as we do not compromise quality, change the recipe in any way, and keep his legacy going.

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