New York state seized the legendary Midwood pizzeria at 1424 Ave. J on Tuesday, saying it owed $167,500 in unpaid taxes. Eater reached out to the state and Di Fara for more information on the reopening and the owed taxes, though the state declined to give more information. Owner Maggie DeMarco-Mieles told amNY that the restaurant is on a six-year payment plan with the state, and that she believes the closure was for a missed payment in May when the pizzeria was briefly shut down by the health department.
The closure set off a blaze of panic, with fans taking to social media to decry the closure — including Mayor Bill de Blasio, who tweeted that he was “ready to do anything” to get the pizzeria back open. A person started a Go Fund Me page claiming it wanted to “bail” the pizzeria out, though it only raised $145.
This isn’t the first dramatic closure and reopen for the longtime restaurant. The health department temporarily shuttered the restaurant in May for a series of violations that included evidence of live mice. It’s also been closed by the health department in 2018, 2011, and 2007. The restaurant now has an A grade, though an inspection on August 15 notes that there is still evidence of live mice.
But despite all the drama, Di Fara remains one of the city’s most famous pizzerias. It’s been open since 1965, often with owner Dom DeMarco personally making the parmesan- and fresh basil-topped pies until recent years. His daughter DeMarco-Mieles has taken over operations, and she has since expanded the restaurant to a Williamsburg food hall.
Update: August 22, 2019, 2:20 p.m.: This article was updated to include a response from the state.