Slice of Life

Jon Feraro's Jersey-style pies are the real thing

Feraro's pizza is authentic (yay, moon craters!) but not perfect. My biggest complaint -- and I would take issue with this no matter what style of pizza Feraro's was slinging -- is that the cheese comes out too oily. It makes blotting with a napkin a necessity rather than an option, and it causes the mozz (which is whole-milk, so it's confounding why it's coming out this greasy) to slide about on top when picked up by hand. This makes a fork and knife also mandatory most of the time -- even though using cutlery on pizza would be considered sacrilege in New Jersey.

Another tiny travesty is that there are no shakers of oregano put out with the grated Parm, garlic salt and red-pepper flakes. Oregano is it when it comes to this kind of pizza, adding a grassy, herbal taste that harmonizes with the sweet sauce astoundingly well. I'm sure plenty of Jersey pizzerias now supply red-pepper flakes for sprinkling as they do at Feraro's, but that seems to me a byproduct of the gourmet-ifying of pizzas everywhere, not to mention America's fairly recent cravings for all things tongue-scorching. Still: Even Racanelli's offers oregano.

Feraro's specialty pies are named after the Boss, Ol' Blue Eyes and other Jersey icons. (What, no Turnpike pizza?) The Bon Jovi, ironically, rocks the hardest. It sounds fancy-schmancy but doesn't taste it: Though the pie contains herbed chicken, sundried tomatoes and roasted red peppers (cozying up alongside more blue-collar toppings like sliced, canned mushrooms -- I admit I love those -- black olives and garlic), all ingredients live to serve the single, sustained note of salty/sweet/ tomatoey/cheesy that makes both Jersey and New York pies the profoundly uncomplicated yet profoundly religious experiences they are. The Soprano, meanwhile, would get Feraro whacked and dumped into an East Rutherford landfill. Pepperoni, meatball and sausage on a pizza? That's as it should be. But smoked bacon and ham, which bring piquantly cured, distracting flavor where there need not be any? Fughedaboutit!

Garden State of mind: Jersey native Jon Feraro prepares one of his signature pies.
Jennifer Silverberg
Garden State of mind: Jersey native Jon Feraro prepares one of his signature pies.

Location Info

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Details

Slice $1.99
The Bon Jovi (18-inch) giant $23

314-588-8345. Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Fri.-Sat., 3-11 p.m. Sun.

1862 South Tenth Street

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In the oddball environs of Soulard, where Joanie's Pizzeria has long been the neighborhood favorite, Feraro's fits right in. Credit that at least in part to Feraro's walk-up window, where you can get a slice to go (or place orders for the patio seating out front). There are few delights as simple, pure and cheap as a slice after (or during) a night of bar-hopping, the activity for which Soulard is perhaps most famous. Even with a few kinks in Feraro's pizza-making system, it's great to have a little boardwalk mixed in with our boozing.

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