Owner hopes to add beer sales to operation
A popular pizza place is getting set to reopen after it was destroyed by fire in October 2017.
Rosa’s Pizza might be ready to open in early to mid-June, said Sean Stemper, who co-owns the Whitewater business with Andrew Marzahl.
Stemper said the restaurant at 180 W. Main St. has been rebuilt, and the challenge now is to hire and train staff for a seven-days-a-week operation that stays open until 3 a.m. on weekends.
Rosa’s might have to re-open with shorter hours until it has enough staff, Stemper said.
The restaurant offers take-out, delivery and sit-down options.
“We try to accommodate the students, keep our prices as reasonable as we can, try to treat everybody the same … And the food’s good. We hand-make everything. We cut our own cheese, make our own sauce, make our own dough,” Stemper said.
The restaurant logo is new, but the food should be what customers remember, he said. A new website, orderrosas.com, has not yet been launched.
A Facebook page is active with comments from former customers welcoming the news.
Stemper is hoping to get a license to sell beer, something the old Rosa’s didn’t have. Beer sales would stop at midnight so the restaurant could stay open after bar time.
Rosa’s features hand-tossed crust, a Chicago-style pie with crust on top and bottom, and a double-decker—essentially one pizza on top of another—that is popular with the post-bar time crowd.
The restaurant caters to families in town as well as UW-W students, Stemper said.
Stemper and Marzahl were UW-Whitewater students who worked at Rosa’s before they bought it from the previous owner.
The fire, discovered in the kitchen early one morning, was a shock, Stemper said.
“I don’t know how to describe it. You never expect it to happen to you,” he said.
Stemper said the building’s new owner, Greg Aprahamian, has been very helpful. The interior is completely new, including improved restrooms, he said. Wall decorations might have to wait until the cash starts flowing again.
“We’re excited to get back and making food for everybody again,” Stemper said.
The fire was an emotional as well as material loss, and Stemper said he wanted to thank family, friends and customers who supported the rebuilding effort.
A group of UW-Whitewater football players even started a GoFundMe fundraiser for Rosa’s, which raised about $2,700.
“That was unsolicited, and it really helped us get through some hard times,” Stemper said.
The support was especially meaningful to Stemper’s family: his wife, Kristin; and their son, who turns 2 in August, he said.