One of the most heartwarming businesses in Center City has to be Rosa’s Fresh Pizza. The pizza shop helps deal with the problem of homeless and hungry people in Philadelphia in an innovative and functional way. First of all, Rosa’s pizza slices are only a dollar apiece. Owner Mason Wartman says that he was inspired by the street pizza in New York City when he founded the shop. Because the slices are so cheap, they are accessible to those with little money. But, additionally, Rosa’s encourages patrons to buy a slice for someone hungry. All these extra bought slices are distributed at the end of the day, so that hungry people have a chance to eat something hot. Rosa’s also distinguishes itself with its wall of multicolored Post-It notes on which patrons have written encouraging messages.
Now, Rosa’s will expand its mission by opening a second location. The new pizza shop will be located in West Philly, at 16 South 40th Street. It is expected to open by July 1st. Wartman says that the success of the original Rosa’s inspired him to make his operation bigger. As he told the local CBS affiliate: “Three years later, we feed about 100 homeless people a day and we’ve given away 100,000 or 150,000 slices of pizza,” Wartman said. “I’m looking to do the same thing on the other side of Philly.”
Wartman points out that there are lots of potential customers around the new pizza shop: it’s crawling with university students. But there’s a wide base of people who need help there as well – there are some homeless shelters and addiction centers in the neighborhood.
The new Rosa’s will offer an expanded menu, branching out from just the basic pizza slices and soda. “We’re playing around with salads right now, we’ll be selling hoagies,” Wartman said. “We do want to broaden the types of food and maybe raise the nutrition level a bit.”