Acclaimed Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri announced this week that he’s selling his restaurant empire to Urban Outfitters. Read on for more.
Well here’s an odd business deal: acclaimed Philadelphia restaurateur Marc Vetri announced this week that he’s selling his restaurant empire to Urban Outfitters. Yes, that Urban Outfitters, the hipster clothing store.
Philly.com reports that Urban Outfitters is set to acquire Osteria, Amis, Alla Spina, Lo Spiedo, and the burgeoning chain Pizzeria Vetri by the end of this year. As a subsidiary of Urban Outfitters, the Vetri Family will continue to be run by Vetri himself as president and Jeff Benjamin as COO. Meanwhile, the group’s top two chefs and partners Jeff Michaud and Brad Spence will take on culinary director roles for the company.
To the relief of fans, the group’s flagship restaurant Vetri will not be part of the sale. Vetri explained to Philly Mag that the restaurant simply wasn’t made to be expanded, saying, “It’s a one-and-done. It’s a culinary learning center. A research facility. A testing facility. … It doesn’t make sense for Urban to own something like that.”
But it seems you can expect to see the rest of the Vetri Family of restaurants expand outside of their Philadelphia home base in the future with this new partnership. In fact, Pizzeria Vetri is just days away from opening the group’s first-ever restaurant outside of Philadelphia in what was a previously announced partnership with the city’s brand new Urban Outfitters-owned lifestyle development complex that will also house another restaurant and a bar in Austin.
This isn’t the first restaurant venture for Urban Outfitters. Eater published a piece last month detailing the chain’s history with “experience retail,” which began in 2008 with the opening of a Los Angeles lifestyle complex sporting an Umami Burger outpost. Last year, Urban opened a similar complex in Brooklyn with a restaurant from Top Chef season two winner Ilan Hall. Philly.com notes that those restaurants and Urban’s other food and beverage brands will be folded into the Vetri Family under this new merger.
Although apparently they’re not opening restaurants inside actual Urban Outfitters stores—these lifestyle complexes are a whole different thing—this week’s news does sound like something out of The Onion. And, fortunately, The Onion has obliged, writing, “Look, sometimes you need a Bluetooth cassette adapter and some Gorgonzola gnocchi and you only want to make one stop.”