What New York’s Best Pizzeria Can Teach Us About Excellence

Two Saturdays ago when I was in New York City…

Me, my wife Laura, and two of our friends went to go eat at Di Fara Pizzeria.

What New York’s Best Pizzeria Can Teach Us About Excellence

Some of you guys may have heard of Di Fara before…

Because it’s consistently voted as one of the best pizzerias in all of New York.

– Zagats rated it as the best pizza restaurant in NYC in 2011…

– Frommers called Di Fara “the best hand made pizza in New York City”…

– Anthony Bourdain exclaimed it “the best of the best”…

– The New York Times said they have “one of the most acclaimed and sought-after pizza shops in New York City”…

– Both New York Magazine and Serious Eats have ranked Di Fara Pizza as the best in New York…

And honestly, that’s a very abbreviated list.

Pretty impressive, right?

But what’s even cooler is the story of the man who started Di Fara Pizzeria…

What New York’s Best Pizzeria Can Teach Us About Excellence

Domenico DeMarco.

DeMarco emigrates to NYC from the Province of Caserta, Italy, in 1959…

And while he has dreams of opening his own pizzeria here in America…

DeMarco spends his first several years working on a farm out in Long Island.

Then in 1964…

A friend takes DeMarco into Brooklyn…

And as they're standing on Avenue J…

He notices this empty storefront…

And, even more importantly…

He notices that the block around the storefront is packed with people.

And DeMarco decides that if he's ever going to take the chance of opening his own pizzeria…

This is the time and place.

So he calls the landlord for the retail spot…

And the landlord tells him that if he can bring a cash deposit in the next 24 hours, then the spot is his.

So DeMarco convinces a friend to go in with him to the restaurant…

And they next day they show up with the cash for the deposit…

Which most of their combined life savings…

And a few months later, Di Fara Pizzeria opens to the world.

It’s an awesome American Success story…

But, what I really love about Di Fara Pizzeria is that up until maybe a year ago…

DeMarco would still make every single pizza himself, by hand.

The first time I went there was maybe four years ago, with Laura and her family…

And it was like you’d entered a cathedral.

Even though it was a sweltering hot day…

What New York’s Best Pizzeria Can Teach Us About Excellence

The actual pizzeria is tiny and kind of looks like a “hole in the wall”…

The AC hardly works…

And there are only maybe 8 tables in the entire joint…

The place was PACKED with people…

And they were all standing around, watching reverently as DeMarco slowly and steadily made pie after pie.

And I really do mean slow and steadily:

By the time I got to see DeMarco in action, he was in his mid-70s…

And he moved with the unhurried rhythm and tempo of an Ancient Master…

He didn’t rush his pizzas…

What New York’s Best Pizzeria Can Teach Us About Excellence

He didn’t get flustered as the number of patrons continued to swell…

DeMarco went at a singular, unbroken pace…

And paid little attention to anything else.

Far from being bothered by this, the patrons all loved it…

It was part of the experience…

And even though the typical wait times for a pizza at Di Fara are about 90 minutes to two hours…

Whenever I’ve been to DiFara…

I’ve never seen a single person complain…

The pizza is just that damn good.

Now, the reason I’m sharing all of this with you…

Is because long before the accolades, the fame, or the money…

What New York’s Best Pizzeria Can Teach Us About Excellence

We have the story of a single guy who was obsessively focused on doing ONE thing better than anybody else.

It took years, actually decades, for the recognition to come…

But that mattered little, because DeMarco never set out to get famous or rich…

He set out to do the thing he loved, which is crafting pizzas…

And he was willing to devote more than 5 decades of his life to making between 150 and 300 pies a day.

And when it comes to us business owners, copywriters, consultants, etc…

I think there’s a powerful lesson that we can take from DeMarco…

Which is that when you worry less about the money and the recognition…

And worry more about being the absolute best at whatever it is you’ve chosen to do

Then you really and truly dedicate yourself to the pursuit of this excellence…

The rest tends to follow.

– SPG

P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link.

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Stefan Georgi

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