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Pizzeria Vetri - Casual Pizzeria on Callowhill and N. 20th Street in Fairmount, with a Second Location in Rittenhouse Square

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Info on Zagat about Pizzeria Vetri at 1939 Callowhill St. opening on Sept. 6.

I cabbed past this just yesterday, assuming it was open, and saying to myself, 'I didn't know there was such a thing as Pizzeria Vetri?!'

Beyoncé, Nine Inch Nails, and Jay Z performed this weekend in the gigantic Made in America Festival at the museum district - Pizzeria Vetri *wisely* made sure their bright red signs were up, for all to see.

"The Large Bathers," completed in 1906, the year of Cezanne's death, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (you didn't think I was going to hear Jay Z, did you?)


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I hope to be visiting this spot at the end of the month - I'll report back, but I'm willing to bet that the pizza will be delicious. I will note that the lack of pasta is alarming, and may still make Osteria an overall better spot.

I went to Amis (*) on Monday evening (Vetri's "other 'other place'"), and they had about a half-dozen pastas; I wouldn't be too hard on a little pizzeria (which I'm willing to bet is slotted to become a chain (remember I said this)) just because it doesn't have pasta, especially when his other places do; but I suspect that, yes, Osteria is a markedly better overall spot by design.

(*) If you go here, get the *amazing* beef heart tartar with pickled red onion alongside the escarole salad with apples and radishes as a first course, with an inexpensive carafe of their good house white wine (highlighting the salad) or a generously sized glass of Lambrusco (highlighting the tartar) - trust me on this one, it's synergy in action.

It is amazing what a James Beard Award can do for a chef.

And it is sad how much a restaurant can deteriorate after it wins one (no, I'm not talking about Vetri). The key is to catch the award winners before they win the award. But how???

Here's how.

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Four of us had lunch at Pizzeria Vetri the Saturday before last. We had tickets to the Barnes Foundation in the early afternoon and this seemed to be a perfect location to have lunch beforehand, given that's it's literally almost across the street from the Barnes. Arriving shortly after the restaurant opened, we easily found seats at a communal table. The seating is exclusively communal "“ there are two large communal tables, each seating between 12 and 16. There is also a bar overlooking the kitchen with maybe 6 seats, and a window bar with a few seats as well. Service was friendly and efficient. During the time we were there, it was busy but never crowded, but we were there early, so can't say what it's like later on.

We ordered 3 pizzas: the Margherita, the Melanzana, and the Salsiccia and 2 salads: the Arugula (coal-roasted potatoes, pesto and taggiasca olives) and the Wood Oven (roasted corn, chanterelles, green beans, prosciutto cotto, ricotta salata). The pizzas were perfect: thin crusts, nice char, excellent ingredients and flavors. I really enjoyed the arugula salad; I didn't sample the Wood Oven, but it was devoured by my dining companions.

Pizzeria Vetri is a nice option to enjoy a casual meal before or after a visit to the Barnes Foundation. And, I can't say enough about the Barnes "“ the building alone is worth the visit.

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Pizza was tasty as advertised although I wouldn't say I was blown away.  We had the Margherita and the Salsiccia (fennel sausage, roasted fennel and tomato), both of which were fresh and delicious.   Crust is very similar to Pupatella, which of course is no faint praise.  They did have a square slice of the day option; on the day we were there earlier this month it was broccoli rabe which we enjoyed very much.  The crust in that case was thicker and frankly functioned more as a topping delivery system than a integral component.

An interesting side dish was the rotolo, which was best described as a pizza pastry with ricotta, mortadella and pistachio pesto.  Half savory and almost sweet, I liked it a lot.

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