Philly Phatz restaurant brings East Coast pizza to the peaks |

Philly Phatz restaurant brings East Coast pizza to the peaks

Sarah Morin
For Sky-Hi News


Locals night at Philly Phatz.
Viktoria Bruner/Courtesy Photo

Whether you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan or craving a thin crust pizza, Philly Phatz in Winter Park is worth the stop.

With a dive bar feel, yet a brightly colored dining room, a couple televisions and a full bar and pool table, this restaurant has the perfect sit-down atmosphere for family and friends.

Owner Roger Babula slings East Coast-style pizzas at high elevation, “but the Philly Cheese Steak (sandwich) outsells pizza by a mile,” he said. This cheesesteak is quite literally the biggest cheesesteak you’ll find in town. Babula makes his with 8 ounces of chopped steak. American and Provolone cheeses are melted onto a toasted 12-inch, Ambrose’s Philly roll. If you’re from Philadelphia, you put ketchup on top, Babula said.

“But there’s no way I’m serving mayonnaise with it,” he added.

Babula’s friendly smile, and welcoming demeanor makes you want to linger over your meal. He loves this community as much as he loves the Eagles. Walk in saying, “Go Birds” and you found your spot.

Babula is originally from Burlington Township, New Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia. In the early ‘90s, he attended a formal French Culinary Cooking School in Philadelphia before heading to the Rockies. After culinary school, he worked at a chain Italian bistro, Fuzzy’s Pizza. A Fuzzy’s friend and coworker encouraged him to head West, where cooks were needed at Winter Park Resort.

Babula has a long history of cooking throughout the valley since his arrival in 1996. He worked as the sous chef at Lunch Rock for five years, where he began making his own style of pizza dough that he has now brought over to his own restaurant. He spent time as a sous chef at the Tabernash Tavern, Alberto’s at Iron Horse and Untamed Steakhouse (now The Peak). Babula bounced between Philadelphia and Grand County before becoming a full-time resident at the end of 2015.

In July 2021, “Philly Phatz landed in my lap,” Babula said. His old coworker from the Tabernash Tavern was selling Zephyr Za and Babula jumped on the opportunity to start his own business. Since opening in August 2021, he’s been focusing on fixing up the shop, repainting the dining room walls and revamping the bar. Next up: new kitchen equipment for dialing in his ‘zas.

Philly Phatz will stay open for the mud season, while offering multiple different specials. Tuesday through Sunday there will be a “Mud Season Happy Hour” from 3-6 p.m. This special will include $5 personal cheese pizzas, $6 glasses of wine, $4 daily cocktails and $3 domestic beers. Babula will also offer a “Family Meal Deal,” served dine-in or carryout. This meal deal serves four for $45 and includes a 14-inch specialty pizza, bottle of wine, house salad and cheesy bread.

Babula is hoping to feature wine-tasting nights, paired alongside appetizers. The wine tasting gigs will include high-end varietal wines and is $20 per person, including three wine samples alongside various bite-size appetizers. Philly Phatz is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, and when the summer season kicks off, they’ll be open seven days a week.

Come check out Babula’s newest offering, if you’re not worried about getting phat.


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