Zahav, Vetri join the list of Philly restaurants requiring vaccination

Philly restaurateur Marc Vetri demonstrates how to chop tomatoes watched by Grant Kane, 9, at the Philadelphia Library's new Culinary Literacy Center. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philly restaurateur Marc Vetri demonstrates how to chop tomatoes watched by Grant Kane, 9, at the Philadelphia Library's new Culinary Literacy Center. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Two of Philadelphia’s highest profile restaurateurs will start requiring vaccination to dine in their flagship restaurants.

Zahav, the Society Hill Israeli restaurant pioneered by Chef Michael Solomonov, and Vetri Cucina, the eponymous Washington Square West restaurant of Chef Marc Vetri, have joined a growing list of establishments that will make vaccination a condition of indoor seating.

Vetri, who was a vocal critic of Philadelphia’s COVID-19 business restrictions, nodded to those restrictions as part of the motivation in an Instagram post.

“This is simply a policy based on current scientific guidance in the hopes that we can do our part to help reduce transmission and avoid further shutdowns,” he wrote. “No one wants to go back to that!”

 

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Starting on Sept. 7, diners at Vetri Cucina and Fiorella, Vetri’s pasta bar, will be required to have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 to dine indoors. Vetri’s post did not share how the restaurants would vet those conditions. Outdoor seating at Fiorella will be an option for people who do not comply.

Staff at the restaurants are already 100% vaccinated and have been since March, per the post. However, rising case numbers combined with the “physical layout and tight space indoor at Fiorella, the reconvening of our pasta classes and special events at Vetri Cucina that encourage guests to interact with each other” all contributed to the new vaccine rule, wrote Vetri.

Solomonov and Steve Cook, the duo behind the restaurant CooknSolo, rolled out their own vaccine mandate via the reservation platform Resy for their restaurants Zahav, Abe Fisher, and Laser Wolf, with this disclaimer: “Please Note: Beginning Aug. 31, 2021, all guests dining indoors will be required to show proof of full vaccination upon arrival.”

A spokesperson for CookNSolo said guests will be asked to present their vaccination, or a photo, upon arrival to the participating restaurants. She declined to answer why not all of the group’s restaurants will impose the same policy, and what drove the decision.

These restaurants join a list of more than 10 in the Philadelphia area, as well as name brand restaurant groups in cities such as Washington, D.C. and New York, that are requiring vaccination. New York City later mandated vaccination for all indoor dining establishments.

Event spaces in Philadelphia, such as the venue Johnny Brenda’s, have followed suit, as they try to return after more than a year of mandated business restrictions, and in some cases, permanent business closures.

“Please be advised that Covid-19 vaccination card / proof of negative PCR test requirements will be implemented at the artists’ discretion for all upcoming JB’s events,” announced management last week.

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