There was a lot of head-scratching this week when Urban Outfitters, struggling in sales, purchased the Vetri Family restaurant group. I understand the concern over a beloved local figure and craftsman “selling out” to a corporation famous for flannel and failed attempts at irony. But Urban and the Vetri people have worked together for years, and two big Philly power players are a match made in business heaven. (For those still bummed: The crown jewel Vetri-name restaurant wasn’t sold. Marc Vetri and co. also pledge to oversee all their Philly restaurants as usual — we’ll certainly notice if they don’t.)
The most interesting thing about this deal isn’t the people involved. It’s one of the reasons Urban’s chief development officer, Dave Ziel, gave for the purchase: filling a social void. As Ziel told Philly.com, “We think retailing needs to become more experiential … I think there’s a craving for real socializing beyond social media.” Read more »
The Melanzana at Pizzeria Vetri | Photo by Courtney Apple
Pizzeria Vetri has made national news over the past couple of days because of Urban Outfitters announcement that it was purchasing Marc Vetri’s pizza chain and the rest of his restaurants (minus the eponymous Vetri). Headlines have blared “Why Urban Outfitters Made Its Controversial Pizza Purchase,” “Urban Drops After Saying It Will Buy Pizza Chain” and “It Will Take More Than a Pizza Party to Sure Up Urban Outfitters.” The business end of the deal has been covered excellently by our business reporter Jared Shelly, but we’re the food guys, and we want to talk pizza.
So for all the Wall Street analysts, URBN stockholders, University of Texas Seniors and everyone else who has been meaning to try Marc Vetri’s jump into casual dining, here is your guide to getting the most out of Pizzeria Vetri.
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One of the biggest questions looming about the Urban Outfitters–Vetri Family of restaurants deal was a simple one: How much did Urban pay to acquire the company?
Urban’s chief financial officer told Bloomberg Business that it paid less than $20 million for the restaurant group. (Both sides announced the deal Monday without disclosing financial terms. I asked Marc Vetri in a wide-ranging interview yesterday, but he declined to answer.) Read more »
Marc Vetri treated Tuesday like any other day. He spent his morning at Amis Trattoria on 13th Street, talking about the menu with the chef. Then he rolled over to Osteria on North Broad Street to do the same. Tonight, he’ll “roam around his restaurants” to make sure the vibe and the food are just right. Just like always.
But there’s little doubt that Tuesday is more than just another day. A day earlier, Vetri agreed to sell his family of restaurants to Urban Outfitters for an undisclosed price. In an interview Tuesday morning, Vetri said “we were never for sale” but that the synergy between the two companies was too strong to let the deal pass. Apart from the restaurant Vetri on Spruce Street, Urban now owns 100 percent of the business. Read more »
Two of Philadelphia’s best-known brands are set to become united. Urban Outfitters has agreed to buy the Vetri Family of restaurants. No sale price has been disclosed.
“Having known Marc for almost a decade and partnered with him through his charitable foundation, we are honored to have him, Jeff and the Vetri family join the URBN team,” said Richard A. Hayne, CEO of Urban Outfitters in a statement. “Spending on casual dining is expanding rapidly, and thus, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept.” Read more »
Marc Vetri went to Elixr Coffee yesterday. While there, he saw a bunch of people there staring at their phones or working on their laptops rather than engaging in lively and spirited dialog with their fellow man. He snapped a picture. He put it up on Instagram. And in keeping with his new part-time gig as a full-on Method acting Grandpa Simpson impersonator, these were his thoughts…
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Some cheese to go with your cheese at Di Bruno Bros.
To all our dear, cheese-loving readers, we’ve got some excellent news for you.
Because we think you like us, and because we know we love you, there’s a gift at the end of this post, so mark down June 25th in your iCal and read on…
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Last year, Brad Spence prepared a 210 pound mortadella for the Vetri Foundation’s Great Chefs Event after party. And since it is the tenth anniversary this year, Spence had to outdo himself.
Pictured to the left is this year’s 230 pound mortadella, enjoying a bath in 500 gallons of Victory beer.
Tickets are still on sale for Tuesday, June 9th’s Great Chefs event, where 40+ chefs will be cooking for two causes— Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Foundation for Children.
The event expects to raise nearly $1 million and have 1,200 attendees in the Navy Yard.
This year the after party is at Lo Spiedo and in addition to the mammoth mortadella, will feature Questlove DJing and even more food and drink.
The Great Chefs Event runs from 6 pm to 9 pm., the after party starts at 9:30 pm and runs til 2 am.
Get your tickets while you still can. Last we checked there were less than 30 tickets left to the after party.
Great Chefs Event [Vetri Foundation]
New at Pizzeria Vetri’s Chancellor St. location, the Rittenhouse, a lobster topped pizza.
The second branch of Vetri Family’s Pizzeria Vetri opens today at 1615 Chancellor Street (between Walnut and Locust Streets). The second Pizzeria Vetri shares a lot in common with the original, though it is about 500 square feet bigger. Part of that room goes to establishing a true bar with eight seats. Another similarity is the Renato pizza oven that will pump out pizzas daily from 11 am to 11 pm (1 am on weekends).
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