As a self-proclaimed pizza-holic, I can honestly say I will wait for hours for a good pizza! Whenever I’m visiting a new area, I do a cursory search for the best pizza available and usually make an effort to visit. Based on the Daily Meal’s 101 Best Pizzas in the country list, I’ve managed to visit 10 of the top 30 in the USA, alright! And growing up in the Northeast has honed my appreciation for the wondrous experience of diving into a pie with a divine crust, luscious tomatoes and soft cheese, truly a magical experience. One OG pizza stand-out over the years has been Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn whose owner, Dom, has been known to pull pies straight out of the oven with his bare hands. I was able to visit once and watched him meticulously finish off his pies with careful snips of basil and a thorough drizzle of olive oil. It was a sublime pizza experience in my early days and worth the 2 hour wait.
Flash forward to 2019 and it’s announced that there will be a new Di Fara Pizza Tavern opening up in Cary by his nephew. Given the pandemic, development was slowed down and finally the new Di Fara Pizza Tavern soft-opened up in early February of 2021. I was able to stop in for an early dinner to try out their pizza and it met all my pizza-holic expectations! Inside, the space is still pretty sparse given how recently they opened up and to allow for social distancing. Kitchen in front with a large Di Fara logo, a dining room with maybe 10 or 12 tables along with a long bar to the side. There’s also a patio outside for when the weather warms (and dries) up. Thankfully they do have their ABC license and are already serving beer and wine, it looks like they are set up to do cocktails too, but I didn’t try any.
The menu is really basic like most pizzerias: Cheese pizza for $25, house specialty pizza for $29 to $35 and each topping is $2 for custom pies. Pizza is also available by the slice along with a calzone option. But of course for me on my first visit, I do the standard 18″ cheese and expect to bring leftovers home. And it’s an excellent pie with a great crust that snaps a bit. Unlike Neapolitan pies, they bake them pretty crisp here at Di Fara Pizza Tavern which I know some people prefer. The cheese is thick but leaves room for the mellow tomatoes to shine, I’m guessing they use a cheese blend here. And there’s plenty of basil on top for that pungent kick of green, gardeny flavor. Overall I am really pleased with my first visit and this pie. While it may be a bit different than the Brooklyn classic, it’s pretty close and really darn good. A well balanced pizza all around for texture and flavors, cooked perfectly. Service was friendly and prompt at the bar which was a nice surprise. They’ve even got a great craft beer list to wash your za down!
While the prices may give you pause, it’s an excellent example of a great pizza for the NC Triangle and has vaulted quickly into my Top 10 list for the area. Di Fara Pizza Tavern uses official “NYC water” for their dough and I’ll look into that claim sometime soon. And I’ll be back to try some of those specialty pies and toppings but will need some friends for that endeavor. But yeah, if you’re a pizza aficionado, make an effort to get down to Cary to try out the new Di Fara Pizza Tavern. Who knows, maybe we’ll see it on that Daily Meal 101 best pizza list sometime soon…