Rosa's, the pay-it-forward pizza shop, to open a branch in University City

Mason Wartman, owner of Rosa Pizza in Philadelphia, is surrounded in February 2015 by notes that customers have left on the wall of his shop.

Mason Wartman, the earnest, young enterpreneur whose Rosa's Fresh Pizza on 11th Street near Market feeds the homeless thanks to its more generous patrons, is on the move.

Wartman says he has signed a lease at 16 S. 40th St. in University City for a second shop, which he hopes to open July 1. It will be across the street from Distrito.

This shop's menu will expand to include simple salads and hoagies. "We are working to improve the nutritional value of the menu to both paying customers and homeless visitors," he told me. 

Wartman, 29, founded Rosa's at 25 S. 11th St. three years ago on the wildly easy-to-grasp premise of buck-a-slice pizza.

Paying customers are encouraged to contribute toward the meals of those who cannot afford to pay. The system works, Wartman says, as the Rosa's shop feeds lunch to 70 to 100 homeless people a day.

He's received national attention for his generosity, including a $10,000 contribution two years ago from Shutterly on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

The 40th Street shop, which will be open for dinner, will offer catering, he said.