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November 16, 2015

Urban Outfitters buys Vetri Family group of restaurants

Acquisition comes as Pizzeria Vetri expands rapidly across nation

A Philadelphia restaurant empire and a Philadelphia retail empire have joined forces.

On Monday, Urban Outfitters announced that it is acquiring all of the restaurants in the acclaimed Vetri Family group, including Pizzeria Vetri, which is expanding nationwide.

"Couldn't be more excited about the future of this partnership!" tweeted out chef Marc Vetri. 

It may seem odd that the multinational clothing and lifestyle company, which runs Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters, among other brands, would have any interest in selling pizzas. However, Urban has had a relationship with Vetri stretching back almost a decade. It hosts the restaurant group's annual philanthropic Great Chefs Event, and it even convinced Pizzeria Vetri to open up a new location in Austin, Texas, as Billy Penn reported.

Setting up popular eateries next to Urban stores can help increase foot traffic, creating a symbiotic relationship between retail and food.

“Spending on casual dining is expanding rapidly, and thus, we believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand the Pizzeria Vetri concept,” Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne said in a statement.

The Vetri Family group is a lot bigger than it was when Marc Vetri opened his eponymous Italian restaurant in 1998. The food won countless accolades, including a James Beard Award for the chef in 2005, but the empire didn't really begin to expand until Vetri opened Osteria in 2007 and Amis in 2010.

At that point, the growth rate picked up, and within three years, Alla Spina, Lo Spiedo and Pizzeria Vetri joined the family. Now, the pizzeria has two locations in Philly, one in Austin and two more planned for the Washington, D.C. area, according to Eater.

Marc Vetri also hinted that more locations on the East Coast could be on the way.

The landlord of the Austin restaurant, by the way? That would be Urban Outfitters.