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Di Fara Pizza: 'Why the hurry? Life's too short'

In an earlier post, I complained about the wait at Di Fara, prompted by a recent thread on Chowhound. Slice's city editor, Seltzerboy, responded in the comments section of that post. But his words are too good to be buried there. Dig ... --Ed.

WORDS BY SELTZERBOY .::. Di Fara is not the problem. It's the victim of a much larger problem. Too often, pizza is viewed as fast food. Di Fara is anything but fast food. In pretty much any restaurant, people are used to having their food delivered in less than 30 minutes. When someone says a restaurant has "good service," what they mean is the food made it from kitchen to table in short order.

The problem isn't Di Fara; it's our culture, which demands speed in everything. Yes, it takes longer for Di Fara to produce your pie—a lot longer, in fact. If time is your primary concern when eating out, there are no shortages of other places that will meet your needs. But when you go to Di Fara, you are engaging in something other than fast food. When I go to Di Fara, I know what I'm in for. I bring a book. But even without reading material, there's enough to keep you busy there. Commisserate with fellow patrons; share your Di Fara strategies with others; talk with Mr. DeMarco about his tomatoes or his family or whatever; pick your own herbs from the plants in the window; learn to speak a little Italian; uncork a bottle of wine; do some shopping along Avenue J and learn to speak a little Hebrew or Yiddish; study Mr. DeMarco's every move as he makes a pie (amazingly, this never gets old); grab a rag, and clean the tables; take out the garbage. Over the years, I have done all of these things while waiting for a Di Fara pie. It has become part of the experience—an experience I wouldn't change a bit. There's a group of off-duty cops who pass the time by playing cards. Waiting an hour for Mr. DeMarco's pie makes you appreciate it even more.

I could list a dozen ways in which Mr. DeMarco could speed up his operation. But all of them would hinder the final product. To me, that final product is what's most important. Why the hurry? Life's too short. Throw out the cellular phone, unplug your laptop and television, and wait an hour for your pizza. Slow down; you just might enjoy it more.

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