After months of delays, chef/owners Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby of Vedge and V Street fame confirm the Rittenhouse location of Wiz Kid is opening this week. The vegan cheesesteak spot, which has an outpost in the Fairmount Whole Foods, will open for friends and family Thursday, lunch Friday and Saturday, and with full hours on Monday. On Sunday, they’ll close to make any last-minute tweaks before Monday’s official opening.
Wiz Kid shares a kitchen — and a passageway — with V Street, next door at 126 S. 19th Street. (V Street ended lunch service earlier this summer in anticipation of the Wiz Kid opening, which was pushed back due to contractor and L&I delays, Landau says.) That passageway allows Wiz Kid to do something most quick-serve spots don’t: Serve alcohol. Get ready for day-drinking, because Wiz Kid is geared toward a lunch crowd, with takeout and just 20 seats for dining in at a handful of tables and a counter.
Philadelphians, especially vegans and vegetarians, are likely already familiar with Wiz Kid's signature sandwich, the Wiz Kid Philly with seitan, mushrooms, fried onions, and rutabaga “Whiz” on a potato roll. And everyone knows Vedge, which has earned a spot on national best-of lists, including Eater critic Bill Addison’s list of the 38 most essential restaurants in the country.
Street artist Ntel, who also decorated V Street, painted an energetic mural in Wiz Kid depicting everything from cartoon characters to smiling carrots to Jacoby’s grandfather, based off a photo from his time as a professional boxer (it’s “in the Rocky spirit,” she says). A thick red thread of paint snakes across the ceiling and onto the opposite wall.
Wiz Kid’s short menu includes new items not offered at Whole Foods, including the Roast Rabe sandwich with broccoli rabe, trumpet mushrooms, and long hots, and the King Cobb salad with chick peas, avocado, pickled cauliflower, tofu with harissa, and a lemon sumac dressing. There’s also the KFT sandwich: Korean fried tempeh. The fries come plain, with wiz, or drizzled with a gochujang-based Korean barbecue sauce.
For drinks, mason jars with 2 oz. of Beefeater Gin or Bulleit Bourbon are lined up on glass shelves behind the ordering counter. “Waterade,” a watermelon lemonade, and a mint julep tea are available on tap, to mix with the liquor or drink as is. Two beers and two wines are also on tap. For now, there’s a sangria, a gruner veltliner, and Neshaminy Creek brews.
Starting Monday, August 7, Wiz Kid will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Look for changes at V Street in the fall, with the restaurant’s former kitchen becoming a noodle bar.