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After having been shut down twice since March by the Department of Health for violations, the celebrated 70-year-old Midwood pizza artisan has begrudgingly agreed to change his ways to meet sanitation guidelines. We caught up with him minutes before he reopened DiFara’s (1424 Ave J at 15th St, Midwood, Brooklyn; 718-258-1367) on June 23.
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1. How do you feel about some of the changes?
I have to wear a hat. I don’t like it. I guess I have to get used to it, but it’s going to bother me. The worst thing is the window. I don’t like to close the window. I have been opening the window for 42 years. Now they say I can’t open it anymore. I have to wear a glove on my left hand. When I make the pie, I don’t have to wear the glove, but when I take the cooked pie out of the oven, I have to wear the glove.
2. Did you have to retake the health safety class?
I went to school for the class 25 years ago. I said no way—no more school. I am 70 years old. One person in the restaurant has to have the license. My son went and took the test.
3. Did you consider giving up and closing the place?
I never thought about it. I have a very good reputation. I do it because I like to do it. I don’t do it for the money. They have to give me two more [random] inspections in the next 12 months. I have to pass both, and then hopefully they will leave me alone.