For well over a century, Philadelphia’s 9th Street Market (better known as the Italian Market) has been one of the city’s great culinary hives. Although its stock in trade remain Italian fare, the market –- like the city itself – has diversified in recent years, with a significant number of Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, and Mexican-run businesses joining the mix. The market’s crackling energy is one of its draws. Outdoor stands and cafes open at dawn, and restaurants burn on late into the evening.
I visited Philly’s Italian Market to buy the ingredients for this show. My guide was Marc Vetri, a very talented local chef and restaurateur. Afterwards, we returned to my kitchen to cook up two of Marc’s favorite family recipes: Spaghetti in Parchment with Clams and Scallions, an intensely-flavored pasta dish, and Sal’s Old School Meatballs, served in an Italian-Italian (not Italian-American) potato tomato sauce. It was easy to see – and taste — why all three of Marc’s Philly restaurants are always packed.
Chef & Owner, Vetri, Osteria, Amis, ALLA SPINA, Philadelphia, PA. Trained in Bergamo, Italy, by some of the region’s most noted chefs, Marc Vetri brings a bold, contemporary sensibility to classic Italian cooking. Within two years of opening his eponymous Philadelphia restaurant, Marc was named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best New Chefs and received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating. In 2005, Marc won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”
Marc opened Vetri, his intimate fine-dining restaurant in the heart of Center City Philadelphia in 1998. His outstanding pastas, innovative flavor combinations and artful presentations captured diners’ imaginations and propelled Marc to the forefront of culinary trends.
February 2007, Marc opened Osteria just north of Center City, the perfect place for traditional Italian thin crust pizza, homemade pastas and wood grilled meats and fish. Osteria was nominated for “Best New Restaurant” in 2008 by James Beard Foundation.
In January 2010, Marc opened his third restaurant, Amis, located in Washington Square. 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.
Marc’s latest venture, Alla Spina, an Italian gastropub also located on North Broad Street, opened February 2012.
Marc lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Megan, and their three children. He enjoys spending Sundays cooking with his children and teaching them how to make pasta.
He has published two cookbooks: Rustic Italian Food (Ten Speed Press, 2011); il viaggio di vetri (Ten Speed Press, 2008)