Author Topic: Di Fara's Closed Indefinitely?  (Read 5087 times)

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Offline jonfoxx

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Di Fara's Closed Indefinitely?
« on: June 06, 2007, 06:57:28 PM »

My opinion?  Clean it up, obey the rules and serve a delicious, SAFE product to the public.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2007, 10:45:36 PM by jonfoxx »

Offline nepa-pizza-snob

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« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2007, 08:27:06 AM »


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Re: Di Fara's Closed Indefinitely?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2007, 02:33:20 PM »
Thanks for the article, I was going to go to John's on my next visit to N.Y. now I'm having second thoughts... but if we all knew what actually what went on in restaurant kitchens nobody would eat out!

Offline bolabola

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Re: Di Fara's Closed Indefinitely?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2007, 12:43:35 PM »
Very true MT..as a retired chef I've seen some kitchens that shouldn't be serving food..
I have dealt with the health dept. in the past and they pick on little issues not so important instead of looking at the big picture..
any kind of rodent or cockroach infestation should be dealt right away but as for Dom having to wear plastic gloves is ludicrious..part of cooking is being able to feel with your fingers..youre not going to get an oldtimer like him to change..
at a Deli making sandwiches I can see useing gloves but not at making pizza..
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Offline pkasten

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Re: Di Fara's Closed Indefinitely?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2007, 03:31:29 PM »
I've been wanting to post on this subject for quite a while, but have resisted the urge to say a bunch of negative stuff about such an esteemed pizza guy/small business owner.  These are the guys on the front line, struggling to keep well made products available to a country all too willing to settle for bland chain-food junk.  I have the utmost respect for his dedication to the art of pizza making, but come on.. His blame-everyone-else reaction to the health inspection problem is shameful.  What Dom has done, and his public response, shows a basic lack of respect for himself as a professional cook and for the people he is serving.

I work in a fairly large, busy restaurant, have years of experience, and formal training.  It is privately owned, not a corporate/franchise kind of place.  We routinely score in the high 90's on our health inspections... and not because there are people constantly on us to follow the rules.  It is the customers who make what we do possible, so their health/safety is always in the front of our minds.  This is something that any self-respecting cook should automatically know.

How much do you want to bet that he cleans and sanitizes the heck out of those surfaces before making his own dinner?  The basic rule is that if you're hesitant to eat something prepared in those conditions, you should certainly not be selling it to other people.

On to this rodent infestation issue...  It seems pretty clear from what he's said to the press that he feels he's being picked on over a bunch of trivial stuff that really should be no big deal.  As far as I have read, he has never come out and said that he is pulling out all the stops to deal with this problem.  This simple lack of caring is what ticks me off.  He doesn't get to have rat droppings in his kitchen just because he feels that there are a lot of other kitchens that haven't been caught yet.  He just refuses to recognize that this IS as very big deal. 

Other more minor issues that he's being cited for are most likely a result of the health inspector getting pretty upset that he's not dealing with the rodent problem... the attitude being, "well, if you're not going to take care of that, look how much other stuff I can write you up on too... how do you like them apples?"

Wearing gloves when prepairing ready-to-eat foods IS the law in New York.  It should not apply to making pizza except when he's placing raw garnishes on the pies, such as basil perhaps.  This one example is about as picky as you can get, but it is in the code for a reason, and that's to protect us.  If Dom happened to touch his face or use the bathroom without properly washing his hands, or anything of that nature, he could transfer harmful bacteria to that basil and sicken a customer.

None of this is trivial stuff, and a thorough inspection should always be made in the first place.  In this sense, I have problems with the inspectors too.  They shouldn't be discovering more problems because they see one big one not being resolved and decide to dig deeper.  That is unprofessional on their part.

Again, it just comes down to professionalism and respect, and no matter how good his pizza is, I couldn't buy food from a guy who clearly cares so little about our health.

enough ranting for now, I guess...



Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Di Fara's Closed Indefinitely?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2007, 05:03:24 PM »
I've wanted to comment too, so I guess this is my chance, given to me by Paul:

I don't know Dom and I have never been to his restaurant... have never eaten in a NY restaurant, so I can't speak for the level of "normal" cleanliness or how closely codes are actually followed... and I'm not formally trained,
BUT I have MANY years of food-service experience, starting with waiting tables (for 90 cents/hour!) when I was 15... waiting those tables on the graveyard shift when I turned 18 (LOTS goes on in the dark that the dayside would NEVER believe, trust me!) and then there's my 12 years in a large, upscale Puget Sound grocery store chain Deli... 7.5 of which were as the manager.  I don't know about NY, but in my area, the Health Dept really puts everyone's feet to the fire.  And our company was so pro-active that we hired Proctor and Gamble as our own "health dept" who visited each deli at least once a month and dug deep!  For one example, we followed HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) and had to keep ALL our temp logs on site for 90 days prior.  They wanted to see those logs, all properly filled out (hot, cold, cold-->hot, hot-->cold, cooler, freezer, etc) so that there was a paper trail for each and every item in the deli.  Then there were the little things, like a fine film of cheese on the bevel of the blade on the dedicated cheese slicer.  That film would cost a couple of points... the list goes on.  I quit after Kroger bought us... and added to the misery (Buck/Bull ratio tanked), esp for the managers... and, in talking to my friends who still work there, it has only gotten MORE picky than it was before, on all fronts, not just kitchen and food safety.

Also, if our State Health Dept found a problem, they were required to make more frequent visits AND dig deeper for more problems other than the first one they found.  That's why you never want that first red flag to go up.

My point?  Rodents are a basic, major issue.  If Dom knows there are rodents and their excreta on his premises, he should fix the problem without being told by anyone, let alone the Health Dept.  When they find it and cite him, then he should REALLY fix the problem... if they CLOSE him because he refuses, that's his problem, no matter how good his pizza is.  If he had fixed it straightaway, that first red flag would not have gone up and he would still be open.

So, not knowing him, my question:  is this a fine example of the "NY-no-soup-for-you" attitude that we hear about?  Or is that just a NY myth, 'cause, boy-howdy, you sure don't run into that kinda thing on the Left Coast, not IMHE, anyway!  We're much more likely to kiss a customer's ass than bite it!  Our corporate buffoons came up with the idea that when we walked up to the counter to wait on a customer, we were REQUIRED to first greet them with "Hello!  How may I help you today?" and nothing else!  So, we *thought* "Hello!  How may I kiss your ass today?" and it wasn't so painful!

Never trust a skinny cook!