Nothing retro about Vetro
An Italian experience in the heart of Northwest Arkansas
Posted: September 9, 2012 at 6 a.m.
The personality and passion of Angelo Amabile are compelling and contagious.
The owner of Vetro 1925 Ristorante, an upscale Italian restaurant on the Fayetteville square, has more than 35 years of food-service experience, from being a sommelier and manager in New York City to owning and operating Piatto Cucina Italiana in Tulsa.
Simple, fine and fresh
LOCATION: 17 E. Center Street, Fayetteville
PHONE: (479) 966-4649
NICE TO KNOW: Authentic Italian cuisine; 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon-Fri, 4-10 p.m. Mon-Wed, 4-11 p.m. Thurs-Fri, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sat, noon-8 p.m. Sun; metered parking, free after 6 p.m.
Amabile was born in the Salerno region of Italy and brings a lifetime of Italian culture to Northwest Arkansas.
Amabile and partner Marcia Harris discovered Fayetteville while attending a Razorbacks football game. Harris instantly fell in love with the historical square area and foresaw their future as restaurant owners in Northwest Arkansas.
After completely renovating the corner office space of the Cravens building, Vetro opened last December, serving lunch and dinner daily.
The interior is a fusion of architectural designs, with the original exposed brick wall and steel ceiling-support beams, hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling glass window front, contemporary bistro tables draped in linens, high-backed booths and a wall cutout that exposes the kitchen window. The contemporary black-and-white palate is adorned with avant-garde accents of a back-lit bartop that transforms colors and an oversized Murano glass chandelier.
The upstairs has seating for about 60 patrons in the dining room and 15 or so more in the open bar. Downstairs, another room can accommodate up to 48. It can be reserved for private parties and has a hidden screen and projector for easily entertaining wedding parties or conducting business meetings.
Beyond the alluring decor, professional ardor of the staff and the infectious charisma of the owners, it is the food at Vetro that is most inspiring.
Both Amabile and chef Alan Dierks are firm believers that excellence of Italian cuisine is best expressed through a straightforward combination of fresh ingredients. By using only a few ingredients in each dish, the natural flavors are enhanced and can be enjoyed, Dierks said.
As much as possible is made in the kitchen of Vetro, including several pasta varieties, desserts, fresh mozzarella, dressings and bread. Embracing the Italian method of preparation, sauces are made to order. House-made focaccia is served with each entree with seasoned olive oil.
Lunch selections include familiar Italian favorites like bruschetta, calamari, Caesar salad, paninis, chicken piccata, lasagna and fettuccine alfredo with grilled chicken. Most items are priced $6-$9, although a few secondi dishes are offered, such as grilled salmon and a 14-ounce ribeye.
A daily, three-course lunch special offers a choice of soup or house salad, an entree and dessert for $15. Dierks selects the main dish of the day from a variety of house specialties including lasagna, linguine and clams, or chicken marsala and pairs it with a dessert for a full, satisfying meal that can be enjoyed during the lunch hour.
is a good portion and a dish that can be freshly prepared quickly, Dierks said.
The dinner menu expands to include starters such as roasted portobello mushrooms served with creamy polenta, gorgonzola crumbles and drizzled with balsamic; fresh mozzarella with marinated eggplant and peppers finished with olive oil and fresh basil; and smoked salmon with capers, shaved fennel and a white balsamic, orange vinaigrette.
Entrees include Veal Saltimbocca, Ossobuco Milanese, lobster ravioli, stuffed quail, roasted duck breast with gnocchi, baked sea bass, penne alla vodka, spaghetti carbonara and eggplant parmesan. The seafood is delivered several times a week, and a fish-of-the-day entree features what is fresh and in season.