We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Kate Jacoby, who co-owns, Vedge and V-Street Café, with her husband Rich Landau. They gave us an up-close look at running two of Philly’s most acclaimed vegan restaurants and told us about their journey to success. We loved hearing about their history, inspirations and pursuits almost as much as we love their mouthwatering cuisine. Almost.
The couple began their career in the restaurant business running Horizons Café in 1994. Horizons became very popular, very quickly and Landau was constantly making efforts to expand and accommodate his customers. Inspired by this success, Jacoby and Landau began to contemplate opening an upscale, vegan dining establishment and immediately began pursuing this goal. They moved their operation to Center City in 2006 and began learning the dynamics of the Philly food scene. They obtained a liquor license, found a location, designed a new menu, rebranded and opened as Vedge in 2011.
Vedge took Philly by storm, receiving a tidal wave of fanfare, publicity and awards. This popularity attracted some extremely talented individuals to join the Vedge staff, allowing Jacoby and Landau to set their sights on a new project, V-Street Café. They describe this street food inspired restaurant as a “fun escape” that allows them to tap into new sources of inspiration without altering the perfected elegance of Vedge.
The inspiration behind V Street Café came from Jacoby and Landau’s world traveling expeditions. Rather than spending money on luxuries, they devote much of their income to travel, partaking on worldwide food tours in which they immerse themselves in the culinary culture of different areas. Jacoby says that “while we’re away, all we can think about is getting back to our kitchens so we can experiment.” They are really enjoying that their 100 percent vegan fare is no longer a novelty as veganism has become so accepted and somewhat commonplace in Philadelphia. They are love not having to justify their cuisine and can simply focus on creating delectable dishes. They get a kick out of helping people step outside of their comfort zones by serving them vegan food and daring them not to be impressed.
V Street Café has a unique style and atmosphere. It is classy without an ounce of stiffness, drawing you into a state of calm with its intimate charm. The deliberate ambiance and strict attention to detail in every aspect of V Street’s design helps to showcase Jacoby and Landau’s commitment to providing a flawless dining experience for their guests. When the couple acquired the space it was a small tanning salon but with some careful planning and remodeling they uncovered a lot of historical character and transformed it into a workable restaurant and bar. Jacoby set out to create an interior that was “urban yet elegant, something fun and edgy, but glamorous.” She found some local artists to create the bar surfaces, shelving and wall designs, while she searched for the perfect antique furniture and decorations. As a final touch, they stretched festival lights across the ceiling to drive home the outdoor, street dining feel of the restaurant. The end result is simply beautiful and we strongly recommend stopping in for the full experience.
The street food inspired menu at V Street is perfectly crafted and enough to make anyone’s stomach start rumbling. All food and drinks are 100 percent vegan and they offer a wide range of gluten free options. Their love for food and dedication to their customers comes across in the sheer brilliance of their dishes. With options like Peruvian Fries, a classy, gourmet version of traditional cheese fries or Korean Fried Tempeh, served in a soft tortilla with a complex combination of spices and veggies, you will leave V Street already fantasizing about your next visit.
Jacoby and Landau are as passionate as it gets and enjoy indulging in their food and spirits just as much as the next person, if not more. They love all of the stimulating challenges and creative opportunities that come with the restaurant business. They even love their new challenge of running back and forth between the two restaurants. Running two successful restaurants keeps them both moving seven days a week but there is really nothing else they would rather do. Jacoby States that she is “always learning something new, whether it’s about food, business or people and there is never a dull moment!”
Jacoby and Landau, Philly’s restaurateur power couple, have always had a simple focus, “to give people easy access to the food that [they] love to eat.” If you ask us, we would say that they have certainly succeeded! They have helped to cultivate a veg-friendly atmosphere in this city with delicious options wherever you look. Currently, they are pushing forward with a number of projects including opening up an outdoor dining area at V Street, hosting private events and increasing their health focused charitable efforts. They are striving to build and contribute to the phenomenal culinary scene in Philadelphia and helping to establish it as a dining destination. We thank both of these award winning chefs for providing excellent food and helping to keep Philly awesome!