This student from Philadelphia wanted to connect to his beloved friends amid the pandemic, so he started making pizza for them. Then, it took off! Now, he’s raising money for charity thanks to his cooking skills. Read on for good food and a better story!
Earning His Culinary Stripes
Like many of us, 27-year-old Ben Berman started a new hobby during the pandemic: making pizza. Since he had only worked in a few local restaurants and never attended culinary school, Berman simply started sending a little something to his friends. They would stand below the young man’s apartment in Philadelphia, and he would lower the pies down to them. Incredibly, it seems to be his calling, as he makes fantastic pizza!
So, Berman started to wonder if he could use his pie-making power for good. As his mother taught him, nothing can bring people together and spread goodwill like good food. “My mom, who’s an amazing cook, taught me about food as a love language and a driving force to connect people,” Berman told USA Today Food. “I’m never as comfortable as I am with friends around a dinner table.” With that in mind, the young pizza maker thought of a fantastic idea…
Helping Philadelphia Through Pizza
Amazingly, Berman finds the time to make pizza while also attending the University of Pennsylvania as an MBA student. Now, he’s even found a way to combine his two passions! After a canceled pizza party, Berman realized that he needed a way to sell the pies he could not give to friends. Finally, an opportunity to give back presented itself. Now, anyone can order a pie from Berman, and he’ll lower it down. However, you don’t pay the pizza maker. Instead, Berman asks for a donation to a local Philadelphia non-profit, and the donation confirmation works as the pickup ticket! As such, he named his “restaurant,” Good Pizza Philly.
Specifically, Berman asks for would-be customers to donate to organizations like Philabundance, Project Home, and Share Food Program, which help those less fortunate make ends meet. “It felt like food security and homelessness needed even a bigger boost this year. And these places in Philly were moving the needle,” Berman said about the non-profits. Soon enough, the young man’s mission even caught the attention of a celebrity!
Berman’s Fame Skyrockets
Of course, all of Philadelphia loved Berman’s new pizza non-profit. However, he really became a national star after earning a good review from Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy. The day after Portnoy posted his review on YouTube and social media, Berman says Good Pizza Philly’s orders skyrocketed. Now, over 1,000 people want to order from the non-profit, though Berman only makes 20 pies a day.
“We hit $30,000 before the holidays. My new goal is to keep adding on zeros to that number,” Berman stated. Despite studying and returning to work at a health care consulting firm, he hopes Good Pizza will stay afloat. “It has just been so fun to see people’s reactions (and I’ve been) excited about the opportunity to make something in my own apartment,” he said. “There’s so little overhead; every single penny is given away. Good Pizza was a way for me to give back during a really hard year.”