Dom DeMarco of Di Fara Pizza Passes Away at 85

  • Dom DeMarco founded Di Fara Pizza in 1965 and became one of the world’s best-known pizzaiolos, personally handcrafting each and every pie to his own specifications.
  • “Pizza has become a fast food,” he once told the New York Times. “My pizza is slow food. If I made it fast, it wouldn’t be any good.”

Related: Kid-friendly pizzeria seeks silent partner to save the family business

Dom DeMarco, one of the pizza industry’s giants and founder of Di Fara Pizza in New York, has died at the age of 85, according to a March 17 Facebook post by his daughter, Maggie DeMarco Mieles.

DeMarco’s pizzas were so famous that New Yorkers and tourists alike lined up outside the little Brooklyn shop and sometimes waited for hours as he meticulously handcrafted every pie to his own specifications.

Mieles said her father’s death “is going to come as a shock to many because we chose to keep it private for good reasons.”

“My world revolved around my dad,” Mieles added in the post. “I worked alongside him since I was a little girl. He used to take me to Italy every summer up until I turned 19 years old. He was the hardest working man I know, and he was a leader and will remain a leader through his legacy. It is with a broken heart that I must share that he has left my mom, my brothers, my sister, myself and all those that loved him because it was his time.”

“It is my first time losing a parent,” Mieles said. “All my friends and family told me, ‘It is an unimaginable pain.’ They were right!”

DeMarco immigrated to Brooklyn from the province of Caserta in Italy and opened Di Fara Pizza in 1965.

Known to many as “the godfather of Brooklyn pizza,” DeMarco was unapologetic about the wait times at his pizzeria. “Pizza has become a fast food,” he told the New York Times in 2005. “My pizza is slow food. And if I made it fast, it wouldn’t be any good.”

Leonardo DiCaprio pays a visit to Di Fara Pizza.

In 2018, DeMarco, well into his 80s, cut back his hours and let his children take over most of the pizzeria’s day-to-day operations. Prior to that, he worked seven days a week and made every pizza himself.

In 2018 and 2019, Di Fara Pizza ran into a few setbacks, including a failed health inspection and unpaid state taxes totaling $165,000. But DeMarco’s reputation as one of the country’s most revered—and beloved—pizzaioli never wavered.

Starting on December 5, 2019—DeMarco’s 83rd birthday—Di Fara began shipping its pizzas nationwide through Goldbelly. By the day of the launch, Goldbelly had received more than 20,000 orders for DeMarco’s pies, making Di Fara the most requested order since Goldbelly opened in 2013.

“Dom DeMarco was a legend,” New York Mayor Eric Adams tweeted on Thursday. “Our condolences to everyone who knew and loved this kind, hard-working Brooklynite.”

In a March 18 post on Di Fara’s Instagram page, Mieles said DeMarco’s family had received “an outpour of love, support, words, tributes, calls, texts, emails and more” after her father’s passing. “I think almost every news channel has covered the loss of my dad as well,” she wrote. “I wonder if he ever knew his exit would be so incredibly respected … [He was] so humble, so soft-spoken, so very funny and extremely confident. He taught me the way to success is to not pay attention to what others may or may not be doing but rather pay attention to what you are doing and what you feel in your heart and the words that leave your mouth.”