Philly’s (and the Country’s) Best Vegan Chefs Are Taking Their Vegetable Wizardry to D.C.

Kate Jacoby/Facebook

Kate Jacoby/Facebook

First came Vedge, the fine dining vegetables-only restaurant in a Locust Street brownstone. Then came the more casual V Street, a vegan globetrotter specializing in cocktails and street foods, located just off Rittenhouse Square. Vegan cheesesteak shop Wiz Kid was next — first in the new Rodin Square Whole Foods and a second opening (eventually) right next door to V Street.

And now, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby are on to new cities.

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James Beard Finally Acknowledges Philly’s Little Guys (and Gals) for its 2017 Semifinalists List

Essen Bakery (Oustanding Baker semifinalist) - Facebook

Essen Bakery (Outstanding Baker semifinalist) – Facebook

This story has been updated.

The almighty James Beard Awards Committee rarely ever left its comfort-zone when it came down to Philadelphia restaurants. Year after year, it was always Philly’s ultra-notable restaurants and chef names that made the cut — Zahav, Vedge, Vernick, Fork; Vetri, Starr, Solomonov — with the occasional nod to any Philly talent considered under-the-radar on the national scale, e.g. Joe CicalaKonstantinos PitsillidesAndre Chin and Amanda Eap (Artisan Boulanger Patissier). That’s not to say those big-name nominations weren’t deserved — they absolutely were — it’s just that there’s so much more to this city than Zahav and Marc Vetri. The rest of the country just isn’t aware.

But for whatever reason, this year, Philly-area chefs and restaurants, both big and small, caught the committee’s attention. Check out who’s repping Philly in 2017:

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Chef Rich Landau’s Top Tips for Upping Your Healthy-Cooking Game

You might call Rich Landau, the chef behind Philly’s always-packed vegetable-focused restaurants Vedge and V Street, along with the new vegan fast-food concept Wiz Kid, the ultimate expert when it comes to vegetables. But still, even when you make a living by transforming vegetables, eating all your veggies can be a struggle. “I laugh when people think I’m sitting in a garden eating kale and bean sprouts. I’m a junk-food junkie like the rest of us,” Landau says.

That said, Landau, a devoted plant-based eater, does know a whole lot more than most of us when it comes to veggies, specifically how to most easily get them from dirt into face in a healthy, delicious way. In fact, he’s featured in CuriosityStream’s just-released four-part series “Prescription Nutrition,” demonstrating how to hone your plant-based meal-making skills here.

In search of ways to improve our healthy-eating game (’tis the season, right?), earlier this week we chatted with Landau to get his top — realistic! — tips for becoming a pro at healthy, veggie-filled home-cooking. The running theme throughout them all? Submit to your laziness. Check out what he had to say below.

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Wiz Kid: Rich Landau’s Fast-Casual Vegan Eatery

Not a rendering of what Wiz Kid will look like.

Not a rendering of what Wiz Kid will look like | Mad Photoshop skillz by Arthur Etchells

Rich Landau of Vedge and V Street fame touches base with an update on his fast-casual concept that he has plans to open next door to V Street on 19th Street. The former EyeSite will open as Wiz Kid this holiday season. Landau is promising a “chef-driven” fast-casual concept with a focused menu and a “beverage program built to match.”

The menu will include sandwiches like the namesake Wiz Kid, a mushroom steak sandwich topped with long hots and rutabaga wiz and the KFT (Korean fried tempeh). In addition to the sandwiches there will be multiple takes on fries, ice cream and more.

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Rich Landau Opening a Fast-Casual concept

V Street will take over the EYEsite building on 18th Street.

V Street will take over the EYEsite building on 18th Street | Photo by Arthur Etchells

A liquor license application in the window of V Street shows that Rich Landau’s vegan empire is expanding next door. The building is the current home of EYESite, which is moving around the corner to 17th Street.

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Michael Solomonov Is a James Beard Finalist for Outstanding Chef

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Michael Solomonov: Nominated for Outstanding Chef 2016

Today, the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its 2016 awards. Zahav chef and owner Michael Solomonov is a finalist for Outstanding Chef and his cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking was also nominated in the International Cookbook category.

Three Philadelphia chefs made it through to the finals for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. They were Eli Kulp, ForkRich Landau, Vedge;  and Greg Vernick, Vernick Food + Drink.

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Rich Landau Wants You to Eat Your Vegetables

Kate Jacoby, co-owner, manager and pastry chef of Vedge and V Street, with her husband, Rich Landau, at Vedge. Photograph by Gene Smirnov

Kate Jacoby, co-owner, manager and pastry chef of Vedge and V Street, with her husband, Rich Landau, at Vedge. Photograph by Gene Smirnov

No tattoos. No cursing. No meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy. No drama. This is a successful chef?

Rich Landau plops a pile of spongy, chalk-colored tofu into a big stainless steel bowl. “This is the most clichéd part of my job,” he says, leaning into the bowl with both hands and tearing the tofu limb from limb, or whatever it is you do to the curd of soybeans. Landau calls tofu “the evil icon of vegetarianism,” and it’s obvious he’s worked with it a few times — check that; a few hundred thousand times — before. Read more »

V Street Starts Brunch

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V Street is now serving brunch.

Brunch begins this weekend at V Street. Of course one brunch staple that won’t be on the menu at Rich Landau’s and Kate Jacoby’s vegan restaurant is eggs. But with dishes like Togarashi Home Fries; Pho Spiced Mushrooms and Biscuit; and Waffles with Ponzu Maple Syrup you won’t go wonting.

And since brunch is just breakfast without booze, V Street is offering a special breakfast cocktail of La Luchadora (tequila, tomato, house grenadine and hot sauce). And to get the day going, there will also be Horchata Iced Coffee.
V Street Brunch Menu »

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