For over 50 years, De Marco has made every pie at Di Fara in Midwood.
Photo: Guillaume Gaudet
Domenico “Dom” de Marco, who opened in 1965 a pizzeria called de fara In Midwood, Brooklyn, which attracted legions of fans, is dead. His daughter, Maggie DiMarco Melles, shared the news on the pizzeria’s Instagram the accountwho did not provide the cause of death. He was 85 years old.
“The best phrase to describe my father is that he was a man who loved America but missed his home country so much and spent all his time in America trying to create this food culture out of Campania,” says Dominic Jr., son of Di Marco. . “He brought the hills of Italy to C Street.” Di Marco the Younger adds, “There will be great pizza in heaven, so let’s do our best to get there one day.”
In 1959, Di Marco immigrated to New York from Provincia di Caserta. After working for a few months on a farm on Long Island, according to New York times In 2004, De Marco opened a pizzeria with his brother in Sunset Park called Piccola Venezia. A few years later, he and his business partner opened Di Fara. “I’m doing this as art,” he said at the time. “I am not looking to make big money. If someone comes here and offers me a price to the store, there is no price.”
Call it “the Holy Grail of classic New York-style pizza.” New York‘s Underground Gourmet, Di Fara was, for the most part, a one-man show, to the point that the shop would close if De Marco was unable to operate. Until recently, he produced each pizza himself, a fact deeply woven into the store’s legends. It gave the pizzeria an aura of craftsmanship at a time when the world’s interest in food was turning to artisans and producers.
For decades, Di Fara was mostly known as the neighborhood chip shop, but eventually it was discovered by people like Jim Leaf, founder of Chowhoound, and Adam Cuban, who created the Pizza Slice blog. Over time, a fandom developed around the pizzeria, and even more so, De Marco himself, turning the convenience store into a destination food-obsessed New Yorkers were practically required to visit.
The popularity has allowed prices to rise over time. In 2009, times Covered Hype around the pizzeria’s $5 price tag for a slice, citing then-mayor Bloomberg as saying, “If you’ve had a really great slice of pizza, you know there are worse deals.” “I can’t think of any slice that could cost so much,” said a manager at Astoria’s Rizzo, another favorite pizzeria. (In the same article, the newspaper described DeMarco as “the bespectacled maverick in New York’s pizza world.”)
Over the years, De Marco’s monk’s commitment and determination to finish his pies with fresh basil has become a signature, and helped inspire a new generation of pizza makers. There has never been a better time to eat a slice of pizza in New York, and de Vara is arguably the most influential slice shop in the city’s history. In honor of Di Marco, locally Owner Mark Iacono – a legend of the pizza industry in his own right – Wrote“You have turned the world of pizza on your own upside down. You have set the standards and paths to success for many of us.”
As Cuban puts it, “It’s hard—perhaps impossible—to think of another pizza maker of his stature, endurance, and importance.”
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