Again, I make my remarks from having sampled pizza all over the U.S., and in many other countries, as well as DiFara specifically throughout the last 25 years...
And, I must make the following additional points in addition to what I previously said (decline in quality and focus on costs):
- 1970s: DiFara's is my favorite (pizzas, eggplant heros, ices, etc.)
- 1980s: toppings on pies I particpate in become less and less abundant
- 1983 (circa): Dominic is approached by members of a neighborhood non-profit group (who happen to be regular customers) that I am familiar with, and responds to a polite request to join other local merchants supplying a group event with a sample of food gratis (one pie), in return for publicity, with (paraphrased) "What's in it for me ?..." He is the only merchant asked who refuses to participate.
- 1980s: The late 80's see my favorite heroes devolve from meals-in-themselves to bupkis (Latin, for "mainly bread"; see also "stingy").
- 1980s: Also in the 80's, DiFara's is an active participant in Avenue J's slice wars, whereby increasing competition (pizzerias on every block) sparks a market to see which place will raise the price of a slice next, with the others following, instead of lowering the price (defying Economics 101).
- 1990 (circa): The pies are being steadily made with less dough, less sauce, less cheese, which just so happens to coincide with a renovation and expansion of DiFara's (making the place what it looks like today), just in time for the neighborhood to become significantly kosher, generating kosher pizzeria competition. And, construction projects never come in on budget.
- Present: Dominic is still there. That's because he's always there. Same place. (Ironic, given his prior indifference to community involvement.) Sure, this can be interpreted as the ethic of a dedicated artisan. Or, as the approach of a frugal (ahem) workaholic. (This is not Windows on the World. It is a corner pizzeria.)
- Present: Chowhound.com links to an article on DiFara where Jim drops by with friend...Dominic is "perplexed" by his newfound internet popularity (where postings even ask to start a fund to update the "ratty" unchanged decor). As am I, and much to your chagrin--Jim et al.--are a bunch of people I know, who feel the exact same about how DiFara's has transormed over the years.
And I have to submit that while listening frequently to radio host Arthur Schwartz, noted chowhound, noted Brooklynite (where I first heard about THIS site), I have never once heard Arthur, or a caller, utter one word about the place with "the best pizza--anywhere"...
Take a second to find out about the visitors to your site, Jim, before trashing their remarks. Can you say you've been a DiFara's customer since 1970, like me? I write as a well-travelled Ivy-degreed professional with Brooklyn street smarts, who knows less about eating around and far more about managing all kinds of businesses.
I also enjoy searching for the "next" undiscovered quality neighborhood place, instead of keeping to a routine. There's other great pizza out there folks (amidst plenty of bad)...ya gotta find it (including Romano's in Jersey City, and La Villa in Mill Basin, Brooklyn). Keep on chewing...
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