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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chef's Choice: Jon Feraro, Feraro's Jersey Style Pizza

Posted By on Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Jon Feraro, Owner of Feraro's Jersey Style Pizza - ROBIN WHEELER
  • Robin Wheeler
  • Jon Feraro, Owner of Feraro's Jersey Style Pizza
Who is Jon Feraro and just what does he think he's doing, bringing New Jersey-style pizza to the center of the Provel universe?

He's a 36-year-old former financial entrepreneur. "I got into executive recruiting and owned a company for about ten years," he explains. "Got burned out and decided I wanted to work even harder, but doing what I like. So I started Feraro's Pizza."

click to enlarge ROBIN WHEELER
  • Robin Wheeler
"I think I made $160,000 my last year [recruiting]," says Feraro, "and I'm not even pulling in a fraction of that yet, but it doesn't matter. I don't need that money. I was going to Atlantic City, taking my girlfriend to Cape May on the weekends, staying at bed and breakfasts, driving a Mercedes. Now I have a Nissan. So who cares? I like it better. It's awesome. I have a little house that's just beautiful. I have my dream kitchen. I have my friends over, I make stuff like this for them, and that's all I want to do. And have people like you in my kitchen and just have fun."

Though rooted in New Jersey, Feraro's family moved quite a bit when he was young because of his dad's job in the banking industry. That brought him to St. Louis as a teen, but not before he started his Jersey-style pizza education. "It took me twenty years to learn this," he says. "Some of the best pizza chefs on the east coast, including Tommy Lightner, rest his soul, he's the one who taught me this. He died in a motorcycle accident. Charlie's in Normandy Beach, New Jersey. I worked summers there."

When he decided to leave the financial world for the restaurant business, he spent a year visiting pizzeria kitchens, learning the techniques so he could bring the perfect Jersey-style pizza -- big slices with a sweeter sauce and chewier crust than its New York brother -- to St. Louis. That pizza has become so popular that there are now two Feraro's, the original in Soulard and a new shop in Concord Village. Also, this year Riverfront Times dubbed Feraro's Best Pizza by the Slice.

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