For those of you that don’t know, I am a huge foodie and am always on the hunt for new food adventures. That’s why when I first moved to NYC a couple of years I found myself on an adventure to Avenue J in Brooklyn to visit and try Di Fara’s, a New York institution. During my 2 hour wait for what was probably the best pizza I’ve ever had, I took notice of what was going on around me. Here is what I saw.
First Di Fara’s is not a fancy place, it is a hole in the wall as a matter of fact. There are about 5 tables squished into the dining area. The place is packed with people pretty much the entire time so that decreases the available space even more! But another thing I noticed was how the workers at Di Fara’s worked as a team. They worked quickly, but at their own pace. Meaning, it didn’t feel like a chaotic environment at all, which is personally something I hate about popular food spots. The last thing I took into account, and was really surprised about, was that DeMarco, the owner who has lived many many more years than I, himself makes each and every pizza. He takes care to make sure each one is perfect, like each pie is the best one he’s ever made.
Imagine my delight when Kottke posted a link to a short Di Fara’s documentary a few weeks back! I absolutely loved this film, and it opened my eyes to the behind the scenes of the business, as well as confirmed my thoughts and observations. Everyone that works at Di Fara’s is part of the family. They support DeMarco and are basically his assistants, making sure everything is in place for him to make his pizzas. This is a big reason why your experience there doesn’t feel chaotic and rushed, because it’s not. There is one guy making every pizza, and yes it takes 2 hours before you get it, but honestly you don’t really care because you feel taken care of and safe. Plus, he’s just so passionate about making your pizza… you actually feel special, like your’s really might be the best one ever.
Perhaps my favorite part of the film is around minute 13:50 when they are talking to one of the customers. He says “It would be nice if alot of other businesses operated in that fashion. That it wasn’t just a product.” If that isn’t the tagline that we’ve been working with since this industry existed, I don’t know what is! The idea that it’s not the product, but the emotion behind it that makes something successful, well that is what we are all about.
Dom DeMarco has turned having pizza into an experience of a lifetime. Honestly who really knows if the pizza tastes any better or worse than other pies. It’s good… it’s damn good, but did I love the pizza so much because of the dough, cheese, and sauce? Or did I love the pizza so much because of the experience. If you’re a NYer go on down to Avenue J and see for yourself (be sure to tell me all about it). I think we can all learn from the Di Fara’s example the huge impact that being passionate about the end product and ensuring a positive experience can have… even on something as simple as dough, sauce and cheese. So go forth and preach the Di Fara’s example in your work! Who knows, it could help, afterall, everyone has to respect an example that features pizza… just sayin.