Di Fara was closed suddenly due to unpaid taxes.
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Credit: © Daniel Krieger

New York is known for many iconic restaurants, and while some have been lost to time, other seem to transcend it. Of the most revered, perhaps, are its pizzerias like Lombardi’s which has sold pies for over a century. A list of such places would be remiss without a mention of Di Fara, a 55-year-old pizza institution located in the Midwood section of Brooklyn and founded by Domenico De Marco who immigrated to America from Italy and is still overseeing operations at age 82. But to the shock of many New Yorkers and slice aficionados, on Tuesday the restaurant was closed and seized by the State of New York due to unpaid taxes.

“This property has been seized for nonpayment of taxes and is now in the possession of the state of New York,” a notice posted on the restaurant’s shuttered gate by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance read, the Daily News reports.

Di Fara's owners apparently owe $167,506 in unpaid taxes. A representative for the Department of Taxation and Finance told the Daily News that seizure is a last resort after multiple communications with the business. While the family-run pizzeria considers its next steps, invested third-party supporters have stepped up. One fan started a GoFundMe campaign to help out, while perhaps the most noteworthy vocalization of support came from New York City mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill de Blasio via Twitter:

“Di Fara is THE best pizza place in New York City. It MUST be saved. I’m ready to do anything I can to get them reopened — as are thousands of New York City pizza-lovers,” de Blasio tweeted Wednesday.

“My team and I are looking into how we can help resolve this situation.”

Di Fara also operates a second location in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The Daily News points out that the opening of said location in 2018 appears to coincide with the compounding of an already existing tax debt for the restaurant, though it's not clear whether that's the actual cause of the large discrepancy. The owners say they had already resorted to opening the shop on Mondays, typically their day off, to help pay down the debt.

In the meantime, it's not like you can't find another slice of pizza anywhere in New York. But many locals and visitors alike could argue you'll be hard-pressed to find a better one.