Source, The Times Herald, Gary Puleo
Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Pizzeria Vetri are more than just mall mates in King of Prussia.
Urban Outfitters, the famous purveyor of velvet tracksuits, happens to be the parent company of lifestyle brand Anthropologie, as well as The Vetri Family cluster of restaurants, which includes the fast casual take-out or sit-down eatery Pizzeria Vetri.
So it makes sense that the corporate consorts share a wing on the upper level of King of Prussia Mall, taking up lofty residence in an annex nestled away in what was formerly known as The Court.
“They had the opportunity to do something in this space with everybody together, and so they jumped on it,” noted manager Seth Hurlbert, a Gettysburg native who gained much of his culinary experience within the Vetri “mini empire,” including the original namesake location on Spruce Street in Philadelphia.
Hurlbert allowed that novices strolling through the mall often stop and marvel at the unique Vetri setup, which includes a food-court-style take-out counter and outsized dining room directly across, complete with beer and wine bar and table service.
“We do get some double takes, having our station over here and our dining over there,” Hurlbert noted. “It kind of gives us an opportunity to immediately start interacting with people. The mall doesn’t go any further, so we are at the beginning or the end of everybody’s trek. The funny thing about this space,” he added, “is that technically it’s not Simon Malls; it’s a different landlord.”
Most who flock to Pizzeria Vetri, however, are not concerned about who collects the rent money, but are deferring to their taste buds craving an authentic Neapolitan pizza experience, with its slightly charred crust and pillowy interior.
The striking Marra Forni ceramic, gas-fired oven perfectly cooks a pizza from every angle on an innovative rotating platform in about 110 seconds, Hurlbert explained.
“While Marc put his own spin on the pizza, it definitely carries that authentic Neapolitan style, the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed in Italy,” he said. “It’s a fickle thing to master but we’ve got people who do a very good job of it. It’s a regular occurrence to hear ‘this is the best pizza I’ve ever had.’”
Part of the “secret” rests with the dough, Hurlbert added.
“We use freshly milled flour and it’s a three-day process to make the dough. You have to give the dough a little time and let that yeast go to work on it. After a couple of days the volatile compounds give it that extra edge of flavor, almost like a sourdough,” he said.
The menu lineup includes the Margherita (basil, mozzarella and tomato sauce); Salsiccia (fennel sausage, roasted fennel, tomato sauce and mozzarella) and Cipollotto (charred spring onion, house cured bacon, mozzarella and pecorino) pizzas, available in two sizes, along with salads, calzones and the signature Vetri specialty, rotolo.
The rotolo somewhat resembles a decadent cinnamon bun but is actually a savory appetizer, Hurlbert pointed out.
“The mortadella (with mortadella, ricotta and pistachio pesto) has a major cult following at our Philadelphia locations,” he said.
Pizzeria Vetri recently added Sunday brunch, with novel additions to the regular menu that include Candied Bacon Pizza (brown sugared bacon, egg, smoked scamorza, provolone, mozzarella and fresh scallion) and Egg-in-a-Hole Taglio (Roman style square slice with egg, Taylor’s Pork Roll, American cheese mozzarella and herb oil).
“One thing I would love people to know about this location,” Hulbert added, “is that even though we’re in the mall, because we’re at the end of the mall, at the corner of Dekalb and Allendale, you can sneak in and pick up or dine here without being in the crush of the rest of the mall. We have plenty of parking out there so you can slip in, get your stuff and slip out and not have to deal with the mall traffic.”