Mason Whartman, Owner of Rosa's Fresh Pizza
I had the pleasure of spending a short time this morning talking with Mason Whartman, owner of Rosa’s Fresh Pizza, at the newest location in University City. Rosa’s University City is located at 16 South 40th Street and is bright with lots of natural light and the signature Rosa’s red tile. Talking with Mason is always a pleasure, he is always friendly and accommodating to his customers as well as visitors.
Rosa's University City, Opening Soon.
I often visit buildings that I have had the opportunity to work on, and my first visit to the original Rosa’s, located downtown at 25 S. 11th Street, came in the fall of 2013. Mason, the owner, greeted me with his usual friendly personality as I told him who I was. I became a regular customer, stopping in to eat, donate, say hello to a few of the regular employees. I first became connected with Rosa’s through an architect, named Martin Herbert. We have worked on several projects together including the original Rosa’s as well as Rosa’s University City. The experience was a pleasure and it provided me the opportunity to get to know Mason and expand my philanthropic endeavors.
The original Rosa's Fresh Pizza, located at 25 South 11th Street
Mason Whartman, Felicia Middleton at the original Rosa's Fresh Pizza
My first surprise was the cost and quality of the pizza. It’s difficult to find good pizza less than $2.00 per slice in Philadelphia. The next thing that surprised me was the “Little Rosa's” program, allowing anyone to “pay-it-forward” to help people in need. Mason says that program has expanded to feed approximately 150 to 200 people per day. It's amazing to have that kind of impact on the lives of the community. To date, Rosa’s has provided almost 100,000 meals to the homeless in the Philadelphia community.
Over the years Mason has expanded the program to include resource information for the homeless as well as an online donation membership program. Rosa’s has products including tee shirts, sweatshirts, gloves, hats and “onesies” for babies. Mason recently added touchscreen monitors in the original Rosa’s to help provide smoother ordering and streamline the in-store donating process.
Mason explained that expanding the menu to include of salads offers more options to people who are health conscious or who may want a more well-rounded meal. In addition, you have the option to build your own salad from the ingredients that are available. The menu also includes original salad dressings. Rosa’s University City will offer sandwich options in addition to the original menu.
Mason and I discussed his plans for Rosa’s future and he talked about exploring the options of additional locations and adding features like an app for mobile ordering and donating. I am looking forward to the opening of Rosa’s in University City, scheduled for sometime this week. As usual, I will stop in to donate, eat and plan a future meetup with a few colleagues. Make sure you stop in Rosa’s and enjoy a good meal while donating to help someone less fortunate.