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Mexican cheesesteak. Photo: Eli Siegel
Mexican cheesesteak. Photo: Eli Siegel

Rosario’s Pizzeria – a wonderful fusion of flavor

A young couple from Puebla serves up unique combinations of Mexican and American food in South Philly.

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Rosario’s Pizzeria opened seven years ago with an incredibly unique but simple concept – combine Mexican ingredients with American fast food dishes.

The result is a wonderful fusion of flavor. Take, for instance, the Authentic Chicken Mole pizza – a pizza topped with chicken smothered in traditional mole sauce, raw red onions and mozzarella cheese.

“At first it was tricky to get customers to try out these unique pizzas,” said Margarita Jeronimo, who owns the restaurant with her husband Aaron Rosario. “But once they came and tried the food, they kept on coming back.”

The first pizzas they offered were the Al Pastor (traditional al pastor pork, chile sauce, pineapple and cilantro) and the Carnitas (tomatillo sauce, pulled pork, red onions and cilantro), but they quickly expanded to make more options like my personal favorite, the Mexicana (tomatillo sauce, mozzarella cheese, chorizo, poblano peppers, corn and fresh avocado).

“We try to combine something from Philly with something from Mexico,” Rosario explained. “People know the food because it’s something they have already eaten, but they get to try it with Mexican flavors.”

Rosario’s menu is extensive and goes far beyond just combining pizza with Mexican ingredients. They also offer original takes on American classics, like the Rosario’s Burger (a chorizo and ground beef patty with Oaxaca cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onions, chipotle ketchup and avocado slices), the Mexican cheesesteak (topped with jalapenos, onion, chipotle mayo, black bean puree, pico de gallo and Chihuahua cheese) and Buffalo wings served with extra spicy habanero sauce.

If you are looking for traditional Mexican, you can also find flautas, tacos and quesadillas. If you want American staples, they also have standard pizzas, hoagies and wraps.

There are also vegetarian options like the Pico de Gallo pizza (white pizza topped with pico de gallo, fresco cheese and slices of avocado) as well as veggie tacos and burritos.

Rosario’s is always trying out new flavors and dishes. What sells stays on the menu and what doesn’t goes away.

“Once we realized that the cheesesteak was so popular we decided to add two more variations – the Mexican and the Chipotle,” Jeronimo said.

Both Jeronimo and Rosario got their start in the food industry when they moved to Philadelphia about 18 years ago. Although they are both from the same region of Mexico (San Mateo Ozolco in Puebla), it wasn’t until they moved to Philly that they met each other.

They each individually worked in various positions at restaurants like Capital Grille and Continental, but eventually they decided to open a place of their own.

“We didn’t want to work for other people. We wanted to work for ourselves,” Rosario recalled. “Learning how to manage a restaurant was tough at the beginning. We have learned a lot.”

By many measures the restaurant is a great success. On a typical day they are busy preparing around 150 orders. There is a constant flow of customers of all backgrounds dropping in to pick up food.

“Many people like us because they know we speak Spanish,” Jeronimo said. “But we get all types of customers – Chinese, African American, white people.”

To learn more about Rosario’s, check out their website or Facebook page. You can also download their mobile app from the App Store or Google play and order directly from your phone. They offer a 10 percent discount for schools and hospitals. There is a small dining room, but they mainly deliver and prepare pickup orders.

Address: 1501 Wharton St. Philadelphia, PA 19146. Hours: Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday 12 p.m. to midnight. Prices: $6.50 to $20.

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