Our Founders

Marc - HS color

Marc Vetri

Founder, Board Member

Marc Vetri is the chef/founder of Philadelphia’s critically acclaimed Vetri Family of Restaurants. 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, hands-on experiences and education.

A Philadelphia native, Marc initially pursued a career in music as a guitarist before realizing his true passion came from cooking. Spending his formative professional kitchen life in Bergamo, Italy, working alongside some of the region’s most noted chefs, Marc has become known the world over for bringing a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cooking. In 1998, he and business partner, Jeff Benjamin, opened the eponymous, fine-dining restaurant, Vetri, to universal acclaim. Vetri’s outstanding pastas, innovative flavor combinations and artful presentations captured imaginations and propelled Marc to the culinary forefront. 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. In 2005, he was given the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”

Following years of continued success at Vetri, Marc launched Osteria in 2007. Larger and more casual than Vetri, Osteria’s menu of traditional Italian thin-crust pizzas, homemade pastas and wood-grilled meats and fish quickly won over the dining public. The restaurant was nominated for “Best New Restaurant” in 2008 by the James Beard Foundation. In 2010, it helped earn Vetri Family chef/partner, Jeff Michaud, the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”

The Vetri Family’s third restaurant, Amis, opened its doors in 2010. Inspired by Rome’s neighborhood trattorias, this smaller but energetic restaurant specializes in small plates such as handcrafted pastas and house-cured meats. In November 2010, Bon Appetit named Amis one of the top “10 Places for Pasta” in the country. The opening of Amis also brought Chef Brad Spence in as a Vetri Family partner, and subsequently, he has been a two-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic” award.

Alla Spina, an Italian gastropub opened in 2012. It’s been recognized by publications such as GQ and Zagat as being one of the top craft beer havens in the U.S., making it a must-visit destination for beer connoisseurs of all levels. The following year saw the debut of two more Vetri Family restaurants: Pizzeria Vetri, the group’s most casual eatery to date, and a second location of Osteria in Moorestown, NJ, the group’s first restaurant outside of Philadelphia, which has since closed.

In 2014, Lo Spiedo opened in Philadelphia’s up-and-coming Navy Yard district and serves a casual Italian-inspired menu with a focus on spit-roasted meats. This year will also saw the expansion of the flagship Vetri restaurant which now encompass two floors, making it available for private events and accommodating larger parties. The new Vetri space includes a test kitchen, allowing Marc and his fellow culinary partners a place to develop and explore new dishes and menus.

Marc is the author of Il Viaggio di Vetri (Ten Speed Press, Oct. 1, 2008) a collection of more than 125 of Vetri’s most-requested dishes. His second cookbook, Rustic Italian Food (Ten Speed Press, Nov. 1, 2011), brought artisan cooking into home kitchens and was named one of the top cookbooks of 2011 by such outlets as Bon Appetit, St. Petersburg Times and The Huffington Post. He most recently released Mastering Pasta (Ten Speed Press, 2015). In addition to his cookbooks, Marc’s writing can be found on The Huffington Post where he is a regular blogger.

Outside of his restaurants, Marc is deeply passionate about giving back to the community, in particular his hometown of Philadelphia. In 2009, he and Jeff Benjamin created the Vetri Community Partnership. The organization’s signature initiative, “Eatiquette,” is a school lunch improvement program currently servicing 10 schools and two camps, and has served more than 500,000 healthy, scratch-made meals. Culinary classroom and after-school cooking programs help reinforce lessons learned in the lunchroom. Additionally, Marc and his business partner Jeff Benjamin are the founders of the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

In November 2015, Urban Outfitters Inc., a leading lifestyle specialty retail company acquired several of The Vetri Family restaurants including Amis, Osteria, Pizzeria Vetri, Alla Spina and Lo Spiedo.  Following the acquisition, Marc and his partner Jeff Benjamin have begun managing URBN’s food and beverage operations as well as working with URBN to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept.

Marc lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Megan, and their three children. He enjoys spending weekends cooking with his family, training in Brazilian jiu jitsu and playing his beloved guitars.

Jeff Benjamin - HS

Jeff Benjamin

Founder, Board Member

Jeff Benjamin serves as Partner and Chief Operating Officer for the Vetri Family of Restaurants. In addition to being an integral component of the company’s day-to-day work, Jeff also serves as co-founder of the Vetri Community Partnership, a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to help kids experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living.

Jeff was bitten by the hospitality industry bug in his junior year of high school when he worked weekends as a busboy at a kosher catering hall in New Hyde Park, NY. The energy and pace of the working in the dining room, coupled with meeting and serving all kinds of interesting guests truly lit a fire. In 1987, he enrolled in UMass-Amherst, majoring in Hospitality Business. Throughout college, Jeff held various front-of-the-house positions, experiences that solidified his chosen career path.

Following his college graduation, Jeff landed in New York City with foodservice industry giant, Aramark. He spent the better part of the next decade managing high-level corporate employee and executive dining operations. During his time in the Big Apple, Jeff met and became friends with Chef Marc Vetri, who was also working in the city at the time. When Marc decided to return to his native Philadelphia to open his own restaurant, he tapped Jeff to be his general manager.

In 1998, Marc and Jeff opened Vetri, a small, intimate, fine dining restaurant in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood. Vetri was an instant hit, with Marc’s bold, contemporary Italian cuisine and Jeff’s thoughtful service style and finely curated beverage program earning universal acclaim. Within two years of the restaurant’s debut, it received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating, and Jeff was made a partner. This dynamic duo has been rolling along ever since.

Throughout the years, Jeff’s thorough attention to detail demands all operations standards are met and remain intact. His vigilant eye ensures the signature Vetri Family philosophy and experience is always upheld for guests and employees alike.

Outside of the restaurants, Jeff is a committed philanthropist. In 2009, he and Marc created the Vetri Community Partnership. The VCP’s signature initiative, “Eatiquette,” is a school lunch improvement program in which children experience the connection between healthy eating and healthy living. The program currently services 10 schools, and has served nearly 265,000 healthy meals. Additionally, the partners are the driving force behind the “Great Chefs Event,” which brings together scores of the country’s greatest chefs to raise money and awareness for the pediatric cancer charity, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Jeff also serves as a member of the board of directors for Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the Community Partnership School.

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