Vegan awards to honor Vedge's Landau & Jacoby

Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau prepare for opening day at Wiz Kid.

UPDATE 10/16:  On November 10th at the Friends Center (15th and Cherry Streets) at 7 p.m., the American Vegan Society will host the first PHILLY VEGAN AWARDS to recognize a wide variety of vegan achievement. Most winners will be determined by voting, but one winning team is already set.

Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, whose Horizons restaurant kicked off a vegan-dining boom that continues to grow today, will be honored with a special award. Opening just off South Street in 2006 (after Horizons Café’s long run in Willow Grove), Horizons not only changed opinions about vegan food, but also served as a training ground for those who went on to open some of Philly's best-known and best-loved vegan institutions. Meanwhile, Landau and Jacoby continued to blaze new trails with the opening of Vedge (2011), V Street (2014) and Wiz Kid (2016). On an evening of vegan celebration, it's fitting to toast this innovative couple for their impact on the overall vegan community.

UPDATE 10/2: Tickets for the Philly Vegan Awards on Nov. 10 at the Friends Center are now available directly from the American Vegan Society. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 for students and $25 at the door. Be sure to be there for this fun, historic celebration of Philly's vegan scene!

Thanks to contests from the Daily News (Best Vegan Cheesesteak) and V Marks the Shop (Best Vegan Mac & Cheese), there are two Philadelphia vegan items for which we know whose is officially the best.

But what about all the other fun animal-free offerings around town? With ever-more vegan venues opening and more vegan items showing up on mainstream menus, it's time to spread the word about vegan standouts that make Philly so famously vegan-friendly, give them some well-deserved kudos and have a great time in the process.

And so, on November 10th at the Friends Center (15th and Cherry Streets) beginning at 7 p.m., the American Vegan Society will host the first Philly Vegan Awards to recognize a wide variety of vegan achievement in twelve categories:

* Best New Vegan Restaurant of the Year
* Best Vegan Food at Nonvegan Venue
* Best Sandwich / Burger
* Best Appetizer
* Best Pizza
* Best Dessert
* Best Frozen Treats
* Best Breakfast or Brunch
* Best Smoothies or Milkshakes
* Best Airport/Bus/Train Station Food
* Best Cheap Vegan Meal (Under $12 per person)
* Best Non-Food Vegan Business

Nominees and voters will be drawn from the greater Philadelphia area (comprising Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, Burlington and Camden counties). The categories’ criteria will be specified on the Philly Vegan Awards Facebook page and listed in full when voting opens on October 18.

Online voting will be hosted by and tracked here at V for Vegan. The initial period, running from 10/18 to 10/30, will determine three finalists for each category. A second, runoff vote to determine the final winner will occur from November 1 to November 7. The winners of these votes will be announced and heralded at the ceremony on November 10th.

The American Vegan Society, which was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in South Jersey, has been joined by internationally acclaimed vegan chef Fran Costigan in planning the evening's activities, which will include vegan appetizers and small plates, followed by the revelation and awarding of the winners in all categories.

As a veteran of vegan citywide contests, I've been offering my own tips to the planning committee, and will be on board on Nov. 10 as emcee for the awards ceremony, which will include additional fun treats that are yet to be announced.
Tickets for the event at the Friends Center will go on sale on October 2nd.

Hope to see you there, and hope you get a chance to try as many of Philly's vegan wares as possible so you can be the best-informed voter!