Iconic New York City pizzeria Di Fara shut down due to unpaid taxes

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
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Lucy Yang has the story of a famed Brooklyn pizzeria shut down due to unpaid taxes.

MIDWOOD, Brooklyn (WABC) -- An iconic pizza restaurant in Brooklyn has been shut down by the state due to unpaid taxes.

The Department of Taxation and Finance said Tuesday that Di Fara owes $167,506.75 in unpaid taxes over the last two years.

Margaret Mieles, the daughter of 82-year-old owner Domenico De Marco, said the restaurant on Avenue J in Midwood has a six-year payment plan agreement with the state and it's all a big miscommunication.

She said she is unsure when the restaurant will reopen, but they are planning to be back in business soon.

"Back in May, we were closed, we missed a payment and made it in June," she said. "But you don't seize a business over one payment."

The pizzeria has been around for more than 50 years and has previously been shut down several times due to health violations.

Mayor Bill de Blasio interrupted his presidential campaign Wednesday to tweet about the closure of the beloved pizza joint.

De Blasio tweeted that Di Fara "MUST be saved" and that he and his team are "looking into how we can help resolve this situation."

Di Fara has been a foodie favorite since it opened in 1965, and fans travel from around the world for its pizzas made with pristine ingredients.

"Di Fara Pizza is an iconic New York institution, and the mayor speaks for many when he says it's the best pizza in the five boroughs," a de Blasio spokesperson said. "We are reaching out to the family to determine the extent of their problems and whether there is anything we can do to help."

Nineteen-year-old Steven Liu came from Alberta, Canada, to visit the city -- and tops on his list was trying Di Fara pizza.

"I took the subway for an hour today," he said. "Pretty hungry, I'm starving. I came to see this, pretty upset."

Mieles has been working alongside her father her whole life, and she says he built a brand on 50 years of passion, old school techniques, and only the best ingredients.

"He did what he loved," she said. "Never became rich. A very simple man. Very humble man."

She said they were audited a few years ago and agreed to make monthly payments, their most recent check on August 15. Then came the shutdown.

Mieles is hoping they can settle the issue quickly and get back to doing what they do best.

Di Fara attracts celebrities and tourists, and it usually lands in the top five in most pizza reviews. The establishment recently earned an A from the health department.

There is a second location in Williamsburg that remains open.


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