The Vetri Cucina Story

Vetri has the longstanding reputation as being one of the most respected and influential Italian restaurants in the country.

In September of 1998, Chef Marc Vetri and his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, premiered Vetri Cucina in a historic townhouse in Philadelphia. Two decades later, the original restaurant that launched this journey continues to provide a culinary tour of Italy, and has garnered national accolades.

Marc and Jeff are excited to introduce the intimacy of Vetri Cucina to the energy of Las Vegas. Immediately after visiting the Palms Casino Resort, they saw the potential for the second iteration of their iconic townhouse. Perched above the city with panoramic views of the Strip and Red Rocks Canyon, the 56th floor provides the perfect backdrop for this latest venture.

The team is thrilled to share their acclaimed Italian cuisine with the Las Vegas community, as well as the unparalleled hospitality for which they've become known in Philadelphia.

1998 Vetri opens
Food and Wine 1999 Chef Vetri named one of the “Ten Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine Magazine
James Beard Awards 2005 Chef Vetri named “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” by the James Beard Awards
2006 Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin host the first Great Chefs Event
Osteria Opens 2007 Osteria opens
Vetri Community Partnership established 2008 Vetri Community Partnership established
2010 Amis opens
Alla Spina opens 2012 Alla Spina opens
Pizzeria Vetri opens 2013 Pizzeria Vetri opens
2014 Vetri Cucina’s private dining room opensBar Amis (formerly Lo Spiedo) opens
Lunch service 2017 Lunch service begins every Friday at Vetri Cucina
September 2018 20th Anniversary
November 2018 Vetri Cucina Las Vegas Opens

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 for our Philadelphia location and Chef Marc Vetri.

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

Vetri Cucina Family

Marc Vetri
Chef & Owner

Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of Philadelphia’s critically acclaimed Vetri Cucina. A Philadelphia native, Vetri founded the restaurant in 1998 with his business partner, Jeff Benjamin, to universal acclaim. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, he was named one of Food & Wine's “Best New Chefs” and received the Philadelphia Inquirer's highest restaurant rating, which the restaurant maintained during a re-review in 2018. In 2005, Marc was given the James Beard Award for "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic."

Following years of success at Vetri, Marc, along with Jeff Benjamin, opened Osteria, Amis, Pizzeria Vetri, Lo Spiedo and Alla Spina, all of which quickly won over the dining public. In his latest venture, Vetri has made the long-awaited move to Las Vegas, opening a second location of Vetri Cucina at the Palms Casino Resort.

In addition to his storied career in the kitchen, Marc is also the driving force behind the Vetri Community Partnership, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower children and families through fresh food and education. He is also the author of four cookbooks, his latest being “Mastering Pizza,” released in 2018.

Jeff Benjamin

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 cofounder of Vetri Cucina, and has worked alongside Marc to open its second location in Las Vegas, at the Palms Casino Resort. In addition to being an integral component of the restaurant’s day-to-day operations, Jeff is the cofounder 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. His next book, Praying for Extra Innings, arrives in 2018.

Jeff lives in Cherry Hill with his wife, Melissa, and their two daughters. When not working, he can be found rooting for his children’s sports teams, as well as his beloved Cubs and 76ers.

Matteo Giacomazzi
General Manager

Born in Venice, Italy, Matteo grew up in a family dedicated to the hospitality industry. Working for his father’s hotel company, Matteo started as a server and moved his way up to F&B manager in the brand’s high-end boutique hotels across Northern Italy and Switzerland.

With a mission to make a name for himself outside of his family’s business, Matteo went to New York for a year to get his degree in hospitality, earning a certificate in Restaurant Management and Hotel Management. When he turned 22, Matteo received an opportunity to move to San Francisco to open Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana, a traditional Genovese Italian restaurant, and later to open its sister restaurant as the Director of Operations. From there, and after a brief stint in Salt Lake City, Matteo made his leap to Las Vegas.

When Matteo learned Marc Vetri was opening a restaurant in Vegas, he had an instant draw to work for him, as it connected him back to his roots, being raised outside of Bergamo where Vetri studied the art of Italian food. Matteo, inspired by Vetri’s attention to detail in everything from his cuisine to service, will bring his philosophy of creating an intimate and exceptional dining experience for each guest to Vetri Cucina.

Paul Wensel
Chef de Cuisine

Paul grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia where he started working in his parents' restaurant washing dishes. When he graduated high school, he went to community college for a couple years but realized he wanted to continue to stay in the restaurant industry. He decided to pursue his interest in cooking and attend the Culinary Institute of America. Once he graduated, he worked at a couple restaurants before landing at Vetri Cucina in Philadelphia. He worked there for 3 years and then made a move to Austin, Texas where he worked at Emmer and Rye. After spending about two years in Texas, he was offered a sous chef position at Vetri Cucina Las Vegas on the 56th floor of the Palms Casino Resort. Paul was crucial in getting the restaurant opened and has moved to the position of Chef de Cuisine. He's loving life in beautiful Las Vegas but will always root for the Philadelphia Eagles.


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. They tackled the pressing issue of childhood obesity and poor nutrition through “Eatiquette,” the Vetri Method for school lunch. Eatiquette transforms cafeteria lunch into a family-style learning experience that encourages healthy eating habits and fosters an appreciation for fresh, nutritious meals. Established to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living, Vetri Community Partnership empowers children and families to lead healthier lives through fresh food, hands-on experiences and education.


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