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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Make something good

Scott Jagow Jul 31, 2009

Since we’re on the subject of bribing people to buy things (cars, I mean), how about this for something completely different? A Brooklyn pizzeria has increased its price to $5 for a slice of cheese pizza. How can a business do that in this recession? Because it makes freaking awesome pizza.

The New York Times describes what you’re getting for your money:

A $5 Di Fara slice is thin and crispy, the dough a few seconds shy of burnt, topped with a tangy, subtle sauce, served on a paper plate, over a sheet of wax paper, in an overheated 44-year-old pizzeria with a worn floor, a drippy air-conditioner and a handwritten sign reading, “Bathroom is out of order.”

Di Fara is owned by 72-year-old Domenico DeMarco:

Mr. DeMarco uses imported ingredients. The flour, extra-virgin olive oil, San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese are all brought from Italy, and the basil is from Israel.

The only person who makes a Di Fara pie is Mr. DeMarco, because, in his words, “I believe only one guy should make the pizza.” When Mr. DeMarco is not available to make the pizza, Di Fara shuts its doors, as it did for several weeks in January while Mr. DeMarco recovered from a car accident.

The reviews:

On Wednesday, Chris Alese, 28, an off-duty police officer, waited an hour and 20 minutes, paying $61 for two pies and four drinks for his group. “It’s unbelievable,” Mr. Alese said, referring to the taste. “You’re going to pay for quality.”

Murat Ugur, 23, was not as impressed. “So-so,” he said Thursday, biting into a slice. “A little oily.”

New York’s mayor weighed in on the economic implications here:

“The real question, relative to the local economy, is whether people are trading up from a $2.75 slice or down from a $25 entree,” the mayor said in reply to a question on Thursday. “And from what I hear in the subways and on the streets, it’s probably a mixture of both. But if you’ve ever had a really great slice of pizza, you know there are worse deals.”

New York Marketplace reporter Jill Barshay provides personal testimony that in fact, Di Fara pizza, will rock your world:

My husband and I are two of the crazy New Yorkers who rent a car to get there and then wait for two hours for these slices. They ARE amazing. And if you ever go, you’ll never forget the site of Mr. DeMarco reaching into a 500-degree-plus oven with his bare hands.

If I go to LAX right now, do you think I can make it to Di Fara before it closes?

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