NYC Dining: DiFara Redux — It’s Hip to be Square


It probably comes as no surprise that one of our all time most popular posts on Off The Broiler has been my previous trip to Difara Pizza in Brooklyn. I’m not sure if it was the photos or the four minutes of Zen-like video watching the master at work, but we got an awful lot of hits. How could I top that post? I’m not sure, but I’m going to try to do it again.

I had to be in Brooklyn yesterday to help a celebrity friend of mine with her new food web site, so Rachel and I took the occasion later in the afternoon to head over to Difara for an early dinner. On all my visits to Difara in the past, we’ve always gone for the regular pizza pies, and haven’t eaten anything else, such as his Italian-American specialities and the elusive Square Pie — which is sold sometimes as slices but not nearly as frequent as the regular pies — that takes nearly an hour itself to prepare, because it has to be proofed, the pizza shell has to be baked separately (which takes at least twice as long as the regular pie) and then it has to be dressed with sauce and cheese and baked again. I have heard from many who are devout Difara adherents that Dom’s Square Pie is perhaps the best square in the entire city, and for those who worship crust char, it beats the regular Difara slices hands down. So this was a good opportunity to take the road less travelled and try some new stuff.

As I live in Jersey, getting to Brooklyn is no easy feat. I have to go over two bridges and brave all sorts of highway closures and insane traffic. But some people will do anything to get great pizza.

Click the “Read the rest of this entry” link below to join us on the quest for the perfect Square Pie.


Dom DeMarco has become something of a serious pizza celebrity now — its not uncommon to see him in the middle of a photo shoot for some magazine or another. Today he was doing a shoot for Details.

I’m still amazed with the quality of product that comes out of a pizza oven that looks like its been through the wars.

Even with Dom’s new found celebrity, he aims to please.

At 3PM the place was only starting to calm down, but many people were waiting a half an hour or more for their pies.

A happy customer indulging in a slice.

Knowing that the Square Pie was going to be a long wait (and it ended up being much longer, because Dom got really busy and sold our pie that we were waiting for nearly an hour for as slices to the general crowd by accident) we ordered a few items from the regular menu, which is handled by the kitchen staff.

Chicken Parmigiana with Rigatoni.

Chicken Parm closeup.

Baked Ravioli

With slices like these available, its all too easy and tempting to divert from the Square Pie mission. But we waited and persevered and stayed on course.

These cherry peppers were out as a condiment that day.

After about an hour and twenty minutes of waiting at the queue and a pizza order mishap, the Square Pie emerges from the oven.

Dom uses Mediterranean basil imported from Israel to top his pies.

The pizza is then boxed and transferred to our table, where we stop and look at it in awe.

Extreme Square Pie closeup. Check out that char on the corner.

Oh man.

Down the hatch.

12 Responses to NYC Dining: DiFara Redux — It’s Hip to be Square

  1. Oh my goodness – Thank You. I know where I’m taking a road trip this weekend. Have you had pizza from Grimaldi’s. How does DiFara compare, in your opinion? Thanks,

  2. Grimaldi’s was once a legendary pizza place but its quality has suffered in recent years.

  3. Mark says:

    We’re visitng NYC for the first time from the Bahamas in November and plan to visit Di Fara’s ofr the first time too. How far is Di Fara’s from SoHo on the train? When do they open on Saturday’s and how long would the wait likely be? Great pictures, you have just confirmed my desires to make it a destination on my trip!

  4. BrooklynQ says:

    Only an hour and a half wait and he gave the first pie out as slices? You went on a s-l-o-w day. One Saturday I ordered 2 pies for lunch at 12:30 and got them in time for dinner at 5:00.

    But Difara’s pizza is worth the wait.

  5. elrot says:

    I have always eaten the round slices at DeFara’s but while waiting one day for my eggplant slice to get made (special toppings take even longer than plain do), I tried a piece of the square. It was pizza nirvana to be sure. The crust is almost buttery in taste, it’s THAT GOOD. You do have to be patient, though; I have often waited upwards of an hour for a slice or two. It’s almost easier to look for slices than for whole pies. But more than anything, it’s a matter of luck: how many people are waiting when you arrive, how many pies he’s making, and how complicated your order. I’m not giving out all my secrets for getting service, but remember that to look at, DeFara’s is nothing; you’d never know to look at the shop what gloriousness awaits you inside. It is, indeed, worth the wait. There is no better pizza anywhere on the planet, and that’s a guarantee, burned crust notwithstanding.

  6. SB says:

    Every time I fly in from Dallas I make a B-line for DeFara’s. It is sooooo worth the wait. It’s always a shame when the pizza is gone. You cannot get enough of it. I recommend asking for their house salad to hold you over while you wait. Fresh mozzerella, mixed fresh greens, with a oil and balsamic vinegar.

  7. […] I’m a huge fan of coal oven pizza. While I love a classic, NY-style steel deck pie that’s been properly made, no pizza baking medium can match anthrcite coal for its heat. At best, a steel deck Vulcan or a Bari, heavily tweaked, can hit about 600 degrees — but a coal oven, stoked to the max, can hit over 800. This heat cooks the pizza faster and produces a crisper effect on the crust. […]

  8. Jim Curtis says:

    I want to go there on my next trip up from North Carolina

  9. […] Click for link to Newer DiFara post on Square Pies  […]

  10. susan says:

    you don’t need extra cheese, you don’t need no mushrooms, pepperoni, eggplants, garlic powder, salt… NOTHING!! just give me a PLAIN DELICIOUS HOT SQUARE SLICE!! MMmMmMM that crust, that cheese, that unforgetable flavorrrr!!! too bad the department of health shut it down for now. NO DOUBT the best pizza in the WORLD!

  11. Gary says:

    Please do not post anything more about DiFara. I’ve been going there since grade school and it’s always been known as a great, but filthy, pizza place. Now, somehow, it’s gained celebrity, so I have to wait too long to eat.

  12. […] It has some of the best Pizza imaginable in the entire country and is the cradle of Jewish cuisine as we know it in the United States. Arguably the best hot dog on the planet originated in Brooklyn. And so on, and so on. Brooklyn is America’s premium brand name for ethnic culture. […]

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