Domenico DeMarco, founder of Brooklyn's Di Fara Pizza dies at 85

Domenico DeMarco, the founder of Brooklyn's iconic Di Fara Pizza has died at the age of 85.

DeMarco's daughter broke the news in an Instagram post on Thursday afternoon. 

"He was the hardest working man I know and he was a leader and will remain a leader through his legacy," his daughter said in the post.

Friday was an emotional day at Di Fara pizza.  Jasmen Zev grew up and still lives above the store. She says she always considered Domenic or Dom, as he was lovingly called, "a living legend."

"I was shocked, completely shocked because I’ve been watching him do this since I was a child. My parents have been here for the last 40 years they’ve been watching him do this, it’s very sad," said Zev.

The Italian immigrant came to the U.S. in 1959 and opened Di Fara on Avenue J in 1965. Food publications have ranked this pizza as either the best or among the best in New York, year after year.  I can tell you this pizza-loving reporter has bought and photographed more Di Fara slices than I can count over the years. As for Anthony Mascolo, he came from Staten Island on Friday to try a famous pie for the first time.

"I thought it would be nice to pay some respect to someone who spent all this time in the neighborhood, who people love so much. I find that very interesting," said Mascolo.

Robert, who makes the pizza at Di Fara now, says he learned everything from DeMarco. Robert started helping out in the kitchen when he was just a young boy.

"He was like a brother to me. He was a very hard-working man, worked seven days a week for many years, made his own pizza pie, always put it in the oven and took it out himself, never let anybody touch the pie," said Robert.

DeMarco leaves behind a wife and seven children. We spoke with one of his sons who told FOX 5 News he’s incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support.

The good news is that DeMarco taught his children everything he knew about pizza, ensuring that his legacy will live on for generations to come. 

"Dom DeMarco was a legend," Mayor Eric Adams tweeted Thursday. "Our condolences to everyone who knew and loved this kind, hard-working Brooklynite."

In a tweet, the pizza shop stated that the last project legendary "Dom" was working on was bringing Di Fara to Staten Island.

The Di Fara Pizza shop was closed for 2 days in 2019 over a tax dispute with the state about a $167,000 tax bill.  It was quickly resolved and Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated the institution reopening.