The Vetri Cucina Story
Vetri Cucina has the longstanding reputation as being one of the most respected and influential Italian restaurants in the country.
After years of working in the finest kitchens in Italy and the U.S., Chef Marc Vetri returned home to his native Philadelphia and took up residence in the intimate, historic townhouse that was once home to the lauded Le Bec-Fin. Together with his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, they opened Vetri Cucina’s doors in September of 1998.
Over the past two decades the restaurant has continued to offer outstanding rustic fare, handcrafted pastas, innovative flavor combinations and artful presentations inspired by Italian cuisine. Throughout this time, Marc and Jeff have been honored to give back to the city through their work with the Vetri Community Partnership.
James Beard Foundation Awards
Vetri Cucina is honored to be included among our talented colleagues as a nominee and recipient of the James Beard Foundation Awards for excellence in the food and beverage industry. Throughout our history, we have received the following recognition from the Foundation.
2003 Best Chef Mid Atlantic Nominee
2004 Best Chef Mid Atlantic Nominee
2005 Best Chef Mid Atlantic Winner
2008 Best New Restaurant Nominee
2008 Outstanding Service Nominee
2009 Outstanding Service Nominee
2010 Outstanding Service Nominee
2011 Outstanding Restaurant Nominee
2012 Outstanding Restaurant Nominee
2013 Outstanding Service Nominee
2014 Outstanding Chef Nominee
2014 Outstanding Service Nominee
2015 Outstanding Chef Nominee
2016 Book Award Nominee - Mastering Pasta
2019 Outstanding Chef Nominee
2020 Outstanding Chef Nominee
Vetri Cucina Family
A Philadelphia native, Marc opened the storied restaurant in 1998 with his business partner, Jeff Benjamin. Within two years of Vetri Cucina’s debut, Marc was named one of Food & Wine's “Best New Chefs” and received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating. In 2005, Marc received the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic."
Following years of accolades at Vetri Cucina, Marc and Jeff opened Osteria, Amis, Pizzeria Vetri, Lo Spiedo and Alla Spina, all of which played integral roles in Philadelphia’s restaurant resurgence.
In 2015, Urban Outfitters Inc., a leading lifestyle retail company, joined forces with several of The Vetri Family restaurants. After overseeing a successful transition, Marc decided to rededicate himself to pushing culinary boundaries at Vetri Cucina.
Vetri Cucina received renewed acclaim in 2017, maintaining its esteemed “Four Bell” rating with the Philadelphia Inquirer and earning a spot on AAA’s exclusive list of Five Diamond Restaurants.
The year 2020 was a busy one for Marc. In February, he opened a pasta bar called Fiorella located in the Italian Market of Philadelphia. This intimate restaurant has a short menu focusing on pasta with a variety of cocktails and wines on the beverage menu. In June, Marc opened his first-ever restaurant outside of the U.S., Mr. Maurice’s Italian located at Ace Hotel Kyoto in Japan. Named in honor of his grandfather, Maurice Rotenberg — the owner of the family's eponymous restaurant in Philadelphia in the 1950s — the restaurant and rooftop cocktail bar serves pastas, wood-fired pizzas and Italian-American fare inspired by Marc’s family and upbringing. Lastly, in July of the same year, he opened Osteria Fiorella located in Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas. This restaurant was originally intended to be a pop-up but it was so successful that it was made into a permanent fixture. This restaurant focuses on a variety of classics perfected by Marc while living and cooking throughout Italy.
In October 2022, coinciding with the start of the NBA and NHL seasons, Marc opened the pizza spot MVP in the Wells Fargo Center, the home arena of the hockey team the Philadelphia Flyers and basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers. Vetri Cucina Las Vegas at Palms Casino Resort closed its doors in March of 2020 but opened again in November of 2022 after much anticipation. This restaurant brings the same Vetri standards in food and hospitality while perched atop the 56th floor of Palms overlooking the Las Vegas strip.
Marc then set his sights on the suburbs of Philadelphia to open an Italian steakhouse in Bryn Mawr called Fiore Rosso. This unique restaurant opened in June of 2022 and features only the freshest cuts of meat and seafood. The restaurant also boasts an incredible wine room and extensive beverage program.
Marc’s latest venture is Pizzeria Salvy – a pizzeria inspired by his father, Sal Vetri. Marc and his culinary team have perfected their signature pizza doughs and are excited to open a pizza restaurant once again. Sal’s famous meatballs will be on the menu as well as a selection of salads, antipasti and seasonal vegetables. Pizzeria Salvy opened in May 2023 in the Comcast Technology Center in center city Philadelphia.
After graduating from The University of Massachusetts Amherst, Jeff Benjamin met Marc Vetri in New York City while working in the food industry. When Marc decided to return to his native Philadelphia to open Vetri Cucina, he tapped Jeff to be his business partner and general manager—and the rest is history.
Today, Jeff serves as co-founder of Vetri Cucina, and has worked alongside Marc to open many restaurants in the past 25 years including Fiorella, Fiore Rosso and MVP located in the Philadelphia area, and Osteria Fiorella and Vetri Cucina in Las Vegas. Jeff is the co-founder and a board member of the Vetri Community Partnership. In 2015, he published his first book, Front of the House: Restaurant Manners, Misbehaviors & Secrets, a behind-the-scenes look at the details that go into an evening out. In addition to operating restaurants, Jeff enjoys helping entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry through angel investing and consultation. Currently he is an investor and sits on the boards of Federal Donuts, a quick serve restaurant company, and Simply Good Jars, a CPG salad product for the foodservice and grocery industry.
Jeff lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Melissa, and has two daughters. When not working, he can be found spending time with his family and rooting for his beloved sports teams, the Cubs and 76ers.
Chef de Cuisine
Jacob grew up in Newburgh, New York and his first cooking job was at the Olive Garden. He took the job because he needed money to buy a guitar. Jacob soon realized his love of cooking and switched his focus from music. He went to the CIA and graduated in 2009. He worked at various restaurants in the Hudson Valley before landing at Osteria in Philadelphia. He worked at Osteria for about a year before moving back to New York. He eventually came back to Philadelphia in 2012 where he opened Alla Spina. There he worked every station in the kitchen and moved to Vetri Cucina in 2015. Jacob has been at Vetri Cucina ever since. He started as a line cook and became CDC in 2020. He was an integral part of Vetri Cucina's many transitions during the pandemic. In his free time Jacob loves playing music, spending time with his dog and eating his favorite food, sandwiches.
Vetri Community Partnership
In 2008, Marc and Jeff created the Vetri Community Partnership as an effort to support Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancer causes, cures and research. Motivated by this work, Marc and Jeff decided to leverage their own expertise in food and nutrition to benefit children. Now, Vetri Community Partnership empowers children and families to lead healthier lives through fresh food, hands-on experiences, and education. Their mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living.