The Tragic Death Of Di Fara Founder Dom De Marco

In Brooklyn, New York, the name Di Fara is iconic. Since the 1960s the pizza place has drawn the likes of locals and celebrities, including Tony Bennet and Leonardo DiCaprio (via Daily News). The restaurant has been said to gather crowds "that often clogged the sidewalk" and the spot even made our list as one of the best pizza shops in New York. Many people who have eaten at Di Fara's can attest that owner Dom De Marco loved pizza as much as he loved his patrons, which is why many are mourning his passing. 

Dom De Marco's daughter took to Instagram yesterday to share the news with fans of Di Fara Pizza. She wrote, "It is going to come as a shock to many because we chose to keep it private for good 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."

She didn't reveal any details about the circumstances surrounding the entrepreneur's death but recalled that her father would travel to Italy with her every summer and she worked with him as a child, learning from her father's passion for his work. She wrote, "My dad, 'Dom' was 85 years old and all our hearts will be broken. It is my first time losing a parent."

The Di Fara legacy lives on

According to The New York Times, the brand's founder, Dom De Marco, moved to the U.S. from Italy in the 1950s and resided in Huntington, Long Island where he toiled on a farm to make ends meet. Eventually, he launched his pizzeria, then called Piccola Venezia, in Sunset Park with his brother where he ran the eatery for five years. De Marco wasn't pleased with the location of the restaurant and decided to close shop. He opened another pizza place, Di Fara's, on Avenue J in Midwood Brooklyn in 1965 (via ABC7NY).

Several commentators paid tribute to De Marco on the @difarapizzany Instagram post, calling him a "legend," with many agreeing that he will always be celebrated for his incredible contribution to the industry and his dedication to his pizza shop. The Di Fara name lives on, with two additional locations in Williamsburg and Las Vegas (per ABC7NY). 

De Marco's son told Grub Street that his father was undoubtedly someone who was fond of America but missed Italy all the time and tried very hard to recreate the dishes from his hometown. He added, "He brought the hills of Italy to Avenue J...there's going to be some great pizza in heaven, so let's all do our best to get there someday."