World Street Kitchen gears up for new restaurant

WHITTIER — The World Street Kitchen isn’t afraid of the word “fast food.” So in mid-November, the food truck is morphing into a brick-and-mortar fast-food restaurant in the Greenleaf building at 28th & Lyndale.

“There are a few items where if you take them off the menu you receive death threats,” said Sameh Wadi, who runs the food truck with his brother Saed. “Now we can solve that problem.” 

He said WSK fans typically split 50/50 over their allegiance to the Bangkok Burrito or the YumYumRice Bowl, and both of them will be on the menu in Uptown as part of a limited, rotating menu. All dishes are prepped to serve in 15 minutes or less per ticket, and all will cost about $9 or less. 

One new idea for the menu is a falafel burger with sweet onions, sumac, Turkish pickles and tahini.

“It’s fine-dining cooking, but we’re cooking street food,” Sameh Wadi said, explaining that WSK will prepare everything from scratch, making its own yogurt and curing its own meats. Wadi said he also picked up a soft-serve machine that’s “more expensive than my car.”

The restaurant will feature a long counter with a view straight into the back of the kitchen. Lamplight above booths and a communal table is made from reclaimed materials:  old caps of CO2 canisters, champagne buckets and a stainless steel drum. The lumber is reclaimed as well, made from old highway dividers in Montana.

“It’s kind of a raw, urban industrial vibe,” Wadi said.

The restaurant’s new chef is Matt Eisele, formerly of Bulldog. He spent five years at Cosmos,starting on the line and working his way up. 

“I learned a lot and learned it fast,” he said. 

The restaurant is a long time coming. Wadi was looking at spaces even before he opened the food truck, and he started sketching restaurant layouts in 2011. He said this will be a definite departure from Saffron, the restaurant he also opened with Saed in 2007. 

“If Saffron is the real pretty girl, this is the brother, who is really rugged and manly and talks a lot of sh**,” he said.