Southern Brooklyn

Di Fara Pizza Faces $1,600 Fine For Having Too Many Seats, Vows Fight On Facebook


Legendary Midwood establishment Di Fara Pizza (1424 Avenue J) took to Facebook late last week and over the weekend, vowing to fight a $1,600 fine from the Department of Health for having too many chairs in the notoriously seat-strapped storefront.

Maggie DeMarco, daughter of famed dough-tosser Dom DeMarco, took to the social media site to explain a recent health inspection that left them with a B rating, saying that they had extra folding chairs in the kitchen.

Maggie wrote on Thursday:

A few years ago we purchased extra seats as we do get very crowded most of the time. We were always kind and would bring out an extra chair if someone asked … Those folding chairs caused us to get a B grade. As someone who has been doing this a very long time, I want people to know not to panic when they read grades on food service businesses . It rarely ever means anything hazardous to the public … At this time, we will no longer have anymore than 19 seats at all times.

According to city regulations, restaurants with 20 or more seats must have a public, handicapped-accessible bathroom. Di Fara does not. Their bathroom is behind the counter, in the kitchen.

On Saturday, Maggie updated Facebook fans on the developments. The city sent the business a letter offering to settle the case for $1,600 or spend a day attending a hearing. DeMarco suggested it’s a racket, and one she won’t stand for.

A business tends to settle just to avoid the inconvenience of attending the hearing. I , however will attend the hearing as I want the 19 seat rule explained to me clearer as we can not continue to pay fines for unexpected violations.

She also expressed her wish that the Department of Health assign dedicated inspectors to each restaurant, allowing them to build relationships and be subject to uniform standards on each visit – the inconsistent interpretation of regulations being a common complaint from restaurant owners.

DeMarco returned to Facebook again late last night, noting that the inspector appears to be a little ignorant of the laws. After some research, she discovered that the bathroom requirement is only applicable to restaurants opened after 1977. Since Di Fara Pizza opened in 1965, the eatery should be grandfathered in.

The hearing for Di Fara’s appeal is scheduled for March 18.

Comment policy


  1. And after they collect his $1600, will the city go after the $600 million in unpaid DOB/ECB fines?

  2. This is kinda ridiculous that the city can do this to a long standing, popular business. The place is extremely popular and is packed almost everyday. Hes trying to accommodate customers as best he can. Where the hell can they even fit a handicap bathroom in that place??

  3. It’s because the guy is a jerk, joe. He gets shut down for being filthy all the time, also because he’s a jerk. His nickname is “dirty Dom”.

  4. MyBrooklyn, do you really buy into that city extortion claptrap? Go answer the phone, Rand Paul is calling.
    Boo hoo. The guy;s pizza is overrated and he should follow the rest room laws like every other store.

  5. Let him make his pizza behind bars! I agree with Jim beam – he is a jerk!

    The idiots that pay 5 bucks-a-slice can visit him in the can and smuggle in mozzarella to him.

    Buh-bye dirty dom!

  6. just because a place has been around awhile, is popular, or can’r fit in a handicapped restroom doesn’t mean that is can break the law.

    what, only new, unpopular places should be penalized?

  7. […] why not [BK Mag] How the LES would look, with some fancy hurricane protection [Bedford + Bowery] Di Fara was fined for having too many seats, is fighting [Sheepshead Bites] Bill de Blasio has to pick a parks commissioner [NY Mag] 4th Avenue is about to […]

  8. how is he a jerk? if you just go there for a slice, your an idiot. its obvious a place where you should buy the whole pie. yea hes prices are high but hes been voted the best pizza in NYC for about 8 years in a row now. You get what you pay for. Once in a while I dont mind splurging. Only place that can compare to Di Fara’s is Juliana’s pizza in DUMBO. Which is owned by Patsy Grimaldi. The original owner of Grimaldi’s

  9. if they give him a reasonable plan on how to construct a handicap bathroom in that small place then he should do it. but if the business has been there longer than the actual rule i don’t see what the big deal is. Its been there for 40 years now all of a sudden they need a handicap bathroom?


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