Image via Flickr cc
When news broke yesterday that legendary Midwood pizzeria Di Fara was seized by authorities for failure to pay $167,506 in state taxes, many New Yorkers lamented the loss of what is widely considered to be the city’s best pizza—including Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Di Fara is THE best pizza place in New York City,” de Blasio tweeted early this morning. “I’m ready to do anything I can to get them reopened—as are thousands of New York City pizza-lovers.”
A pie from Di Fara, via Flickr cc
Di Fara is THE best pizza place in New York City. It MUST be saved. I’m ready to do anything I can to get them reopened — as are thousands of New York City pizza-lovers.
My team and I are looking into how we can help resolve this situation. https://t.co/oL1jKxpgh5
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) August 21, 2019
Di Fara was abruptly shut down around noon yesterday. Employees were kicked out before the ovens could be turned off, according to Margaret Mieles, the daughter of owner Domenico DeMarco. Speaking to amNY, Mieles seemed completely blindsided by the action, saying that the family had worked out a six-year tax payment plan with the state. The pizzeria missed a payment in May, while the business was shut down over a city health violation. Despite its popularity, the pizza joint doesn’t have a good track record with city health violations—it’s been closed at least four times since 2007 for unsanitary conditions. Mieles noted that they had received an “A” rating during an inspection last week.
“Small businesses struggle. No matter how popular you are, you’re still a small business and you still struggle to keep up. You’re fortunate if you can get up and do it every day and still have people walking through the door,” Mieles told amNY. “My father is an honest, hardworking man for 50-something years, no fancy mansion or fancy cars,” she added.
A GoFundMe page was quickly set up by Max Tsiring, who grew up in Bensonhurst but made the trip to Di Fara whenever possible. “Help keep a New York institution and the best pizza on planet Earth going so you can eat it and show it to people and they can eat it and everyone can be happy and know what good pizza is,” the page says. 17 hours into the campaign and they’ve only raised $55 of the $80,000 goal.
Di Fara’s Williamsburg outpost at the North 3rd Street Market remains open.
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Neighborhoods : Midwood