Rosati's Pizza CEO Rick Rosati, who opened sites in suburbs and beyond, dies

  • Rick Rosati, with arms crossed, leads a group photo taken at a restaurant he opened in Texas around 1984.

    Rick Rosati, with arms crossed, leads a group photo taken at a restaurant he opened in Texas around 1984. Courtesy of the Rosati family

  • Fredric "Rick" Rosati, CEO of the national pizza restaurant group Rosati's Pizza, died unexpectedly June 15, 2020, due to natural causes at his home in Cave Creek, Ariz. He was 70.

    Fredric "Rick" Rosati, CEO of the national pizza restaurant group Rosati's Pizza, died unexpectedly June 15, 2020, due to natural causes at his home in Cave Creek, Ariz. He was 70.

  • Fredric "Rick" Rosati

    Fredric "Rick" Rosati

 
 
Updated 6/23/2020 12:11 AM

Fredric "Rick" Rosati, CEO of the national pizza restaurant group Rosati's Pizza, died unexpectedly June 15 due to natural causes at his home in Cave Creek, Arizona, the chain announced Monday night. He was 70.

Rosati was the driving force to franchise the Rosati's Pizza concept in 1979, a company statement said. He opened his first restaurant at the age of 20 in Arlington Heights and went on to establish locations across the U.S., including the company's first Arizona restaurant in 1986.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Rosati's death closely follows that of his father, Rosati's Pizza co-founder Ferdinand "Fred" Rosati.

The franchise company, now headquartered in Warrenville, said Rick Rosati was known for his business acumen, work ethic and dedication to helping employees rise through the ranks through mentorship opportunities.

"Rick believed in American entrepreneurship and the power of small business," brother and Rosati's Pizza CFO Jeff Rosati said in a statement. "Rick mentored countless dishwashers and cooks and helped people move from entry-level positions to roles as managers and even store owners. A lot of his business partners were former dishwashers."

"This isn't just a professional loss for our franchisees; it's personal," sister Regina Rosati said through the company. "A lot of our store owners have known Rick since they were teenagers. He was a father figure and friend who took a personal interest in his colleagues."

Rick Rosati was born in Chicago on Dec. 31, 1949, and raised in Riverside alongside his six siblings. He started working at his family's flagship restaurant at the age of 14 and later co-founded a Chicago-based pizza supply company with his father and other relatives.

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When Rosati wasn't behind an oven or in the office, he could be found fishing, hunting, boating and spending time with his family in Door County, Wisconsin, the company said. He was a doting uncle to 21 nieces and nephews and a longtime Cubs fan.

Rick's, Jeff's and Regina's father, Fred Rosati, helped his family's pizzerias become a national chain after his brothers started the first restaurant in Mount Prospect in 1964. Fred died March 30 at age 102.

In the late 1890s, his family served Italian food to customers in New York. They moved to Chicago at the turn of the century and opened another eatery featuring Italian-style pizza, a precursor to the Rosati's restaurant empire. Today, there are approximately 200 locations throughout the U.S.

At the time of his death, Rick Rosati was overseeing a store opening in Arizona. He worked closely with his brothers; Jeff Rosati will continue to manage the company.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Rick Rosati attended St. Mary's School and Sacred Heart Seminary before studying business at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

He is survived by his mother, Theresa Rosati (Cortina); six siblings, Regina Rosati, Stephanie Haack, Michael Rosati (Kay), Annamarie Bensfield (Joseph), William Rosati (Joanne) and Jeffrey Rosati (Karen); and 21 nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held 2:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral Home, 330 W. Golf Road in Schaumburg, with a prayer service at 5 p.m.

Private goodbyes are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at Stella Maris Catholic Parish, 2410 S. Bay Shore Drive in Sister Bay, Wisconsin, with an 11:30 a.m. Mass to follow.

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