Down North Pizza Expands Mission with New Frozen Pizza and Social Initiatives

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Down North Pizza in North Philadelphia has teamed up with GoPuff to launch a new frozen Detroit-style pizza named “Uknowhowwedu,” inspired by Philly hip-hop artist Bahamadia. This move is part of the pizzeria’s mission to reduce recidivism by employing formerly incarcerated individuals. With their continued success, they are now planning to expand into grocery stores and continue their social impact efforts, including a non-profit offering free STEM classes to local children.

Expanding Reach with Frozen Pizzas

Down North Pizza, a socially conscious pizzeria in Strawberry Mansion, Philadelphia, is making strides in the frozen food market. Their latest product, a halal Detroit-style pizza topped with beef sausage, pepperoni, and bacon, is available exclusively through the Philadelphia-based delivery app, GoPuff. This collaboration aims to extend the restaurant’s reach and introduce more people to its dual mission of serving great food and supporting social justice initiatives.

The pizzeria’s owner, Muhammad Abdul-Hadi, sees this partnership as a significant opportunity to raise awareness about the pizzeria’s social mission and its culinary offerings. Down North Pizza has been a beacon of hope in the community since its opening in 2020, primarily hiring individuals returning from prison and providing them with vital resources to reintegrate into society successfully.

Supporting Community and Employees

The restaurant not only offers employment opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals but also goes a step further by providing housing and support services. Two apartments above the restaurant are available for employees who might face difficulties securing housing due to their past convictions. This support extends to partnerships with local organizations that offer transportation and mental health resources.

Executive Chef Michael Carter, who is also formerly incarcerated, is among the approximately 20 individuals Down North Pizza has employed, illustrating the restaurant’s commitment to its mission. These efforts have proven essential in helping individuals transition back into the community with dignity and support.

Looking Toward the Future

As Down North Pizza continues to grow, so do their aspirations. After finding success in shipping their pizzas nationwide through Goldbelly and launching their first frozen pizza, they are now eyeing grocery store freezers as the next step. Abdul-Hadi plans to start small, testing the waters in local Philadelphia grocery stores to gauge demand before expanding further.

In addition to their culinary ventures, Down North Pizza is also preparing to launch a cookbook next year and continues to develop its nonprofit arm, Down North Treehouse. This offshoot aims to provide free STEM education to children in the Strawberry Mansion area, further cementing the restaurant’s role as a pillar in the community. However, the project is still awaiting the completion of renovations at the former library where the classes will be held.

With each initiative, Down North Pizza not only feeds bodies but also nourishes minds and rebuilds lives, making it more than just a place to grab a slice.

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