Born To Za!


Of course I find a way to incorporate Bruce Springsteen into the pizza discussion.   This past Tuesday we celebrated the 40th Birthday of Born To Run!  And what does any sane person do?  They take a drive to Freehold, NJ and eat at one of the pizza places The Boss has been known to frequent.  But there’s more!


After doing a little research and asking friends, I took the two-hour drive up the New Jersey Turnpike and made my first ever visit to Freehold.

This had such a good vibe from the get go.  There’s a very small town feel and energy that would only make sense, based on where I was.  We had a plethora of local shops, restaurants, and services, with a limit on chains.  And I like the sound of all of that.   It was an easy town to navigate.  And after a little bit of exploring I stopped in at Federici’s.


The feeling inside and out was just as authentic as the town itself.  No bells and whistles, no hoopla, just a good energy with folks enjoying their meals and the company they were with.  Or you have someone like me, enjoying their meal in solitude.


I did a quick scan of the menu and decided on the Chicken Parmigiana to go.   The thin crust was outstanding as well as were the ingredients.  This came together perfectly.  This was a joy to eat!   Needless to say, for an individual pie, this didn’t have a chance.  I savored many bites as slowly as I could to appreciate what I was experiencing.   What an absolute pleasure this was.  The cheese was baked in perfectly as was the chicken.  And this tasted like real breaded chicken.  And I could go on all day about that sauce!  Holy moly!  Incredible stuff!


This was masterful work.   I should have had another. I was full and satisfied.  But I don’t come around too often that I wish I had another to praise and laud.  It’s been a week but now I can’t stop thinking about how amazing this pie was.   There was a great soul behind the making of this pie.  Oh my goodness.

And the staff was incredibly friendly, even though the restaurant and take-out lines were starting to get hectic.  There were pictures of Bruce visiting on the wall, but I never could come across them.  Next time.


For more on Federici’s and their story, you can go here and always my favorite is the community section of any website.

Of course when I’m visiting a new place, I do need to make some touristy moves.


Directly across the street is the Columbia Triumphant statue.   Where you see that, you see a bunch of Jersey-related icons with their names on the bricks.  I was informed that Bruce had one with a special kind of cement in its spot in case anyone felt compelled to be bad and steal this piece of history.   I found it and got real up-close-and-personal photo! Woohoo!

Here is where I get a little cuckoo.  I had caught wind of the fact that the house, at 39 1/2 Institute Street, Springsteen grew up in from age five to the eighth grade was close by.  And thanks to help from a dear friend, I found it.  And I got some great up-close photographs!


This street was so eerily quiet I was a tad nervous at times.  Literally, there was no one walking or driving by.  Maybe that’s how it was meant to be.  I spent a good few minutes appreciating this piece of history.


The tree is the famous one that Bruce posed with for a photo shoot for the “Born in the U.S.A” album over 30 years ago.   Think I got enough of the tree and the house?

I could have stayed here for a while and done some more inspirational discovering, but I left on a very high note.  And that just means I’ll have to come back.


Everywhere I went I felt the energy of something powerful.  It could have been the amazing pizza, being in a new place for the first time, how I was feeling at that very moment, or maybe just appreciating one of the New Jersey and this country’s greatest icons.

Thanks so much.  And Happy Birthday, Born To Run!