Vetri Breaks Twitter (And Melts His Answering Machine) With Surprise Pop-Up


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If you slept in today, you already missed this. I’m talking about it now just because I think it was kind of awesome–and proof of how much social media has affected the way restaurants do business these days.

Early this morning, Marc Vetri went on the Twitters and made an announcement:

That was at around 8:30am. He quickly followed it with this–some details.

There were retweets. A fair amount of sharing. By 10am–just an hour and a half after posting the initial tweet and the time that FOH staff normally starts arriving–Philly’s early-rising food nerds had already gone nuts. Vetri updated thusly.

Two seatings, roughly 16 seats per. So we’re talking 32 seats for a $75 dinner cooked by Marc Vetri himself, snapped up in just minutes. No word yet on how many calls the house actually got, but this tweet came through at 10:26am.

You see that last line? “Look out for the next one.” Vetri has had that upstairs space available to him for months now, and has been using it primarily for cooking classes and private events. But this–a dinner announced on the spur of the moment, booked up in less than an hour, and thrown together in just one day–is a perfect example of how things can work today when restaurants and social media click. Chefs with a strong brand, powerful name recognition and some space available to them, can do this now. Just decide to cook a special dinner for those quick and connected enough to get a foot in the door.

Pop-ups–which, let’s admit, have become ubiquitous to the point of invisibility these days, and have fallen far from their original intent–were once a cool thing, offering a special, one-time-only experience to a select group of in-the-know diners. Now, they’re everywhere. Creative, sure. Occasionally leading to actual restaurants opening (even if that means a smoothie restaurant grown out of raw food pop-ups at local yoga studios). But more often just an excuse for a couple of chefs to hang out together and get weird for a night, using customers like guinea pigs to test out their latest flights of culinary fancy. Or, worse, used like coordinated marketing maneuvers to turn something that was once cool into just another brand channel to hype some chef, some concept (looking at you Carla Hall) or some ingredient.

But now, Vetri has returned the pop-up to its original cool status, and he did it this morning. With a single tweet.

And now I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Marc Vetri [Twitter]