First an Osteria, Now a Birreria

The Vetri crew is readying a new, more casual concept for North Broad Street

I was having dinner at Vetri on Friday night (trust me, I don’t get to write those words often) and owner Jeff Benjamin stopped by our table …  and dropped something remarkable in my lap. No, it wasn’t another helping of chicken liver ravioli, but rather, some savory, delicious scoop. It seems the Vetri crew has plans to open a fourth establishment, although Benjamin describes this as a birreria — that’s Italian for “pub” — rather than a full-blown restaurant, just down the street from Osteria.

Benjamin says the lease should be signed on Thursday for the space at 600 North Broad Street, the former Wilkie Buick, dealership. The space will be subdivided, with the Vetri crew taking about 3500 square feet. Details are minimal at this point (and likely to change a million times before it opens), but it will have more of a bar feel with more bar seats than either Osteria or Amis and with more casual food from Marc Vetri and Osteria chef-partner Jeff Michaud, to match. And, of course, lots of beer, which most likely won’t be all Italian. Benjamin says, “Truthfully, I’d love to do an Italian beer list, but I could be dreaming. It isn’t a lack of product, its that the really good Italian imports are cost prohibitive currently.”

The other big change for the crew? It will have a TV, which Benjamin says will not be on all of the time, but will be turned on for special events. We’re thinking World Cup soccer, Phillies playoff games and the like.

The same developer, Eric Blumenfeld, owns both the building that houses Osteria and the former Buick dealership. In March, 2009 told the Inquirer he planned to build loft apartments above the site. Here’s what the space looks like now:

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