Urban Outfitters recently acquired most of the restaurants from Philadelphia titan Marc Vetri and his partner Jeff Benjamin. As part of their partnership, the James Beard Award-wining chef and his team will develop new restaurants for the retail giant, including new locations of their casual hit Pizzeria Vetri. An early phase of the Vetri/Urban Outfitters integration is now underway at UO Cafe, the five-month-old take-away restaurant inside the Herald Square outpost of the store. Earlier this week, Vetri was meeting with the team at the cafe and getting up to speed with their operations. Soon, members of his Philadelphia team will get folded into the mix here too. Vetri explains his involvement with UO Cafe:
They basically said, "Go look at it and do whatever you want with it." But we've just got to figure it out. There are no immediate things yet. Right now it runs amazing and the numbers are amazing. But yeah, it's also a space in Manhattan in Herald Square that could be an awesome place to do something fun....Urban is very supportive. They're like, "Listen you're the food guy, do what you want."
The chef also notes that he's got to decide to "leave it like it is and fine tune it a little bit, or stick something else in here." Vetri and his crew operate six major restaurants in Philadelphia, and they recently opened a Pizzeria Vetri inside an Urban Outfitters concept store in Austin. Marc worked in some big New York City kitchens in the late 90s, including Bella Blue and Coco Pazzo Teatro. The chef remarks: "I'd love to potentially do, like, a pizzeria here. That's a goal of mine for sure, but we'll see where and when we can make that happen." But don't expect a pizzeria inside the Herald Square space. "I don't think we can fit an oven in here," Vetri explains.