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Friday, May 27, 2011

Ferrara's, Spencerport Road: Margherita Pizza

Pizza Guy Note: Sadly, Ferrara's is closed.
There have been several new pizzeria openings around Rochester in the past month or so, which is always exciting news for any pizza lover. One that I was especially eager to try was Ferrara's, which opened on Spencerport Road in the CVS plaza just off Long Pond Road.
The reason for my anticipation is that years ago, there was a Ferrara's pizza on Titus Avenue, across from the House of Guitars. That was the first place I ever got a Margherita pizza, which I'd never even heard of before.
Ferrara's closed quite some time ago. Since then, they spot has been a Pudgie's Pizza, and now is a hair salon or something along those lines.
All these years, and many Margheritas later, I wouldn't say that Ferrara's Margherita was very authentic. The classic Italian Margherita is made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil, on a thin crust that's usually been brushed with olive oil. Ideally, it's baked in a wood-fired oven, at least if you really want authenticity, in the sense of coming close to what you'd be apt to find in Italy. (Or so I've read and seen on TV; I've never been to Italy, I'm sorry to say.)
But I didn't know any of that the first time I tried a Margherita from Ferrara's. Maybe ignorance is bliss, but I loved it from the start. It was topped with tomato slices, black and green olives, garlic, and white onions, and it immediately became one of my favorite pizzas. At the time, I lived in the Browncroft neighborhood, some distance from Ferrara's, but I'd regularly make the drive to pick up a Margherita.
So when, some months ago, I saw a listing in the D&C for a Ferrara's Pizza opening on Spencerport Road, I couldn't believe that after all these years it could be the same Ferrara family, but I was hopeful. And what do you know, it is. And they still have the same Margherita on the menu.
At some point I plan to go back for a more in-depth discussion with the owner, but on this, my first visit to the new place, I just spoke to the cashier, who told me that this was indeed the same Ferrara's. And as far as my memory serves, the Margherita was as I remembered it, or at least damn close to it.
The medium-thick crust was well browned and firm underneath, though not quite crisp or crackly. There was a trace of cornmeal visible, but no screen marks.
The interior of the crust was quite nice, rather bready, with large air holes, particularly along the edge. Very enjoyable.
But it was the overall flavor that again won me over. Yes, the olives are canned, and no, the tomato slices aren't as good as what you'd get out of your garden in July, but there's something about this particular combination of toppings that I find irresistable. The pungent saltiness of the olives, the softly sweet onions, with the flavor and aroma of garlic permeating it all, renders this a sheer delight.
Maybe some of this is just nostalgia. Maybe if I were trying this for the first time, I wouldn't be so lavish in my praise. And I know I should try to be objective. But how can you be coldly dispassionate when a long-lost love has returned, after you thought you'd never meet again? So with that caveat to the reader, I have no choice but to give this an A.
Ferrara's Pizza, 485 Spencerport Rd., Gates 14606. 247-6777
Tue. - Thu. 4 p.m. - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 4 p.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. Closed Mondays.


  1. OMG, Ferrara's Pizza is back! Your review is spot on. The Ferrara Margherita was the best neighborhood Pizza ever.

    Oh how I have missed this neighborhood favorite! Can't wait to try it again.

  2. I believe that Ferrara's is no longer at 485 Spencerport Road. The pizza place that is there now is called "Mr. Sam's Pizza Kitchen".
    Not sure if Ferrara's moved or if they went out of business.
    Either way, Mr. Sam's Pizza Kitchen has the same phone number as Ferrara's.