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NY

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albany downtown

ALBANY, NY - Foodies in Albany may soon have more options for food on the go.

The city rolled out a new pilot program this week to expand locations for food trucks and food vendors in the capital.

Currently the City of Albany only allows food trucks and food vendors in three main areas in the city but starting this week, that’s about to change. Food vendors will have the chance to apply for permits to move elsewhere. 

The food trucks on Washington Avenue have been a long tradition for people on the go. Melissa Silva’s family has been running their hot dog cart for the last 42 years.

“We were actually one of the first vendors out here, and you can see it’s grown a lot since then,” said Silva.

On Thursday alone there were eight trucks and one hot dog stand. According to the vendors, that’s in part because currently the city restricts vendors to State Street, Washington Avenue and the Lincoln Park Pool, but thanks to a new program more locations are being added.

“I think that’s a great opportunity to have other spots to go to,” said Amanda Zareski with Baja Chops Food Truck.

According to the mayor’s office the program will now allow three vendors to set up shop in Washington and Lincoln Park, and five more in public right-of ways across the city. This is something Capital Region foodies like Madelon Swinton says she can get behind.

“That would be a pretty good idea, so we don’t have to walk all the way from the museum to here, just all of the street, that’d be pretty cool,” said Swinton.

Find the entire article at news10.com <here>

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Shaquille ONeal Soupman Food Truck

NEW YORK,NY - The Original Soupman, a soup restaurant chain first made popular in New York, has amped-up its food truck division by recruiting basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal to take the reins.

O’Neal has long been a partner in the company and has served as strategic advisor.

The recent news has been making waves and is expected to drive investor and consumer interest to the company.

O’Neal will become a joint venture partner of the company for the SoupMobile franchising program, which is part of Soupman’s campaign to bring their products closer to the rest of the United States. The other half of the partnership is Marcus Crawford of Amongst Elite LLC who was also formerly a part of The Original Soupman.

Crawford and the bastketball player-turned-businessman will champion the development of the company’s franchisee program.

The company is banking on the newest food trend to become a lucrative growth channel, especially since the segment has earned $1.5 billion in revenues in a five-year period from 2007 to 2012. Annual growth of food trucks is pegged at 8.4 percent. About 15,500 jobs were created by food trucks during the same period while 1,500 new business sprouted. The food truck market is expected to generate $2.7 billion more in revenues by 2017.

“The combination of our brand’s strength, the food truck trend, and the fact that this is a low-cost franchise business, should make the SoupMobile a one-of-a-kind franchise opportunity, which is what drew Shaquille and I to the business,” Crawford said. “After all, we’re the soups that made Seinfeld famous.”

Besides its gourmet soups that keep New Yorkers standing in long lines, the company has become more popular after it was featured in Seinfeld. One of the characters was based on Soupman’s founder Al Yeganeh and the protagonists were shown gushing over the soups that are among the most in-demand food products in New York.

Soupman’s CEO Lloyd Sugarman said the company is eyeing at least 100 SoupMobile trucks in the next  five years.

“This Original Soupman mobile franchise is a low-cost, branded business opportunity that we believe is perfect for dedicated, passionate operators including veterans,” he said.

Since the recession, the food truck business boomed, providing customers with quality food at affordable prices and business owners with lower operation expenses.

Soupman, which first opened in New York in 1984, has been dabbling in a number of other ventures besides the restaurant chain. Before franchising soup trucks, it has been selling its gourmet soups in over 4,000 supermarkets and online shops.

In a release, Soupman announced its future plans to serve Rutgers University and Jersey City through its first official SoupMobile earlier launched in New Jersey.

Lobster Bisque, Chicken Gumbo Crab Corn Chowder and Jambalaya will be among the soup varieties offered by the soup trucks. The soups will be made available in cups, bowls, or quarts and as meals or a la carte. Customers will have the option to buy artisanal bread, oyster crackers, fresh fruit and Soupman’s signature piece of chocolate.

Other products on the menu are New England styled Lobster rolls and rice bowls, as well as smoothies and other beverages.

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Rochester food trucks
(Photo: ANNETTE LEIN )

ROCHESTER, NY - If you think food trucks are new, Richard Gigliotti of Greece will give you some perspective.

As an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University, he would frequently buy a late-night egg sandwich from a truck parked in front of his dorm. The sandwich was good, but what really drew him was seeing the workers inside having a lot of fun. Gigliotti decided then and there that he too would some day own a food truck.

That dream finally came true last year. Papa Gig’s has joined the new wave of mobile vendors who are reviving street food through colorful truck makeovers, traditional and inventive menus and habitual use of social media.

“It’s even more fun than I thought it would be,” says the 64-year-old retired biology teacher.

Today, food trucks feed downtown workers, the late-night bar crowd, festival- and concert-goers, farmers market customers and concert-goers as well as parking at several events focused solely on mobile food. Capitalizing on the success of the Food Truck Rodeos at the Rochester Public Market, additional food truck convoys are planned for Avon, Farmington, Pittsford and the Genesee Brew House. Several Rochester-area trucks plan to travel to Buffalo for that city’s Food Truck Tuesdays.

The city’s food truck pilot program has been expanded and extended to the end of this year, adding eight more approved center city locations. The city is also likely to approve an increase in the number of times a truck can vend at a private business or nonprofit from two to 60.

Members of the Rochester Food Truck Alliance are still pushing City Council to approve vending on residential property, says Lizzie Clapp, co-owner of Le Petit Poutine. Those revisions could go to City Council next month.

“It has been a slow progression,” says Clapp, who started her business in 2011.

Find the entire article at democratandchronicle.com <here>

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lloyd taco truck buffalo
Image by: Robert Kirkham/Buffalo News

Today, we’ll take a deeper look into the 2014 Food Truck Taco Of The Year Winner that is the Lloyd Taco Truck.

Childhood friends, Chris Dorsaneo and Pete Cimino knew they wanted to create something big and exciting.  Neither of them had any inkling that it would be Lloyd.

While Chris studied at the University of Hawaii Kapiolani Community College receiving two Associates in Science for Culinary and Pastry Arts, his passion was ignited for food creation.  Culinary inspirations like David Chang and Jose Andres and culinary school mentors like Chefs Ernst Hiltbrand and Alan Tsuchiyama coached and molded him into the professional he is today.

Pete’s mathematics background has served him well in this partnership.  Thankfully, he realized soon that the teaching gig out of college wasn’t his thing and turned to his life of “serial entrepreneurship.”  While dabbling in several ventures, he visited Chris in Hawaii and made a point to visit Giovanni’s Original shrimp truck.  “Little did I know that this unassuming, unofficial state institution was about to change our lives! Standing in line I had much time to ponder.” The idea of waiting in line was ridiculous, but Pete was taken by the “unique social atmosphere, the one that only occurs outside a food truck.”  This experience made him feel connected to the food in a way he’d never experienced.

Years later, when Chris returned to Buffalo, food trucks had started to explode.  The timing was right and they went to work.  The concept of “Lloyd” was born.

“Lloyd,” is a 4th degree sash in the fine art of Taco Kune Do, a farmer that Pete worked for, a gnome found behind Chris’ grandmother’s garage, a flavor scientist that teaches at MIT, and a sage that left them his recipe Bible from his world travels.  In reality, Lloyd is a figment of Pete’s imagination.  The company needed a name and a personality.  Pete’s sister Nina Barone was not only instrumental in helping them launch the truck, but boldly suggested the name “Lloyd.”  Lloyd’s mission is “street food on the edge.”  This means REAL food using the best ingredients one block at a time.

After launching OG Lloyd in 2010, Lloyd dos and Lloyd the III came on in 2012 and 2013 respectively.  Lloyd will cater your events with their Drop Off service or Truck On Site options.  With Lloyd’s growth, Chef Chris brought in CIA graduate Teddy Bryant.  Both have won the Nickel City Chef contest, a local Iron Chef-style competition.

“Quite a spectacular taco!” boasts one Yelper.  “The truck is full of incredibly friendly workers ready to serve up some taco goodness,” claims another. Lloyd’s customers are among the most loyal in the country.  They are rewarded with incredible food after waiting in line, even in the heart of winter…  Lloyd is thankful for the support they received from the Buffalo area, especially in the winter.

Lloyd offers taqueria-style street food with a Lloyd “spin.”  Their favorites sound so yummy, we may have to take a quick trip to Buffalo to try them all.  One favorite is the Dirty South, which is filled with Southern-style fried chicken thighs (arguably the best part of the chicken, IMHO), bacon aioli, maple syrup, baby kale, and crispy waffle chips made in Chris’ grandma’s pizzelle machine.  Their other favorite is the Hombre taco made with Mexican-style chorizo, fried potatoes, fresh onion, cilantro, avocado crema and a wedge of lime. They even have a play on the infamous Big Mac, albeit a much healthier version.  If it’s got the Lloyd spin, I’m IN!

It seems as if the Lloyd team has built a recipe of hard-working, fun deliciousness.  They are excited every day to meet their customers and find new places to serve them.  The keys to their success is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid, adaptability, and being active in their food truck community.

We asked them where they might be in the future.  They were a bit tight-lipped on their future plans, but something tells me they will continue to serve the Buffalo area and evolve and grow into something huge.  Honestly, we can’t wait to see the future of Lloyd!

After their first day in operation, Pete’s friend looked at him and said, “Man, do you realize this truck is gonna be epic?” What a feeling!  What a feeling, indeed!

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With nearly 25,000 votes between our poll and individual email submissions it took us a little more time to tally things up than we originally planned.But now that the hard part is over, we are pleased to announce our winner…

llyod taco truck

Congratulations to the Lloyd Taco Truck in Buffalo, New York on winning the Mobile Cuisine 2014 Food Truck Taco of the Year Contest!  We’re super excited to tell you a little about them.

Childhood friends Chris Dorsaneo and Peter Cimino wanted to create a business concept that would take Buffalo by storm.  Chef Chris and self-proclaimed, “serial entrepreneur” Peter dreamt up the concept that is Lloyd.  Lloyd is so many things, but to the lucky and devoted folks of Buffalo, “he” is the purveyor of authentic, creative and delicious Mexican street food.  Whether you’re dining from OG Lloyd, Lloyd dos, or Lloyd the III, you’re bound to get tasty tacos, nachos and more!

Hungry for more?

We’ll take a deeper dive into Lloyd in our feature article tomorrow…<here>

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BUFFALO, NY - Lloyd’s and Knight Slider will be able to sell their goods to hoops fans after all.

2014 march_madness

An agreement reached between Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Buffalo Place Inc.will allow area food trucks to operate in and near First Niagara Center during this week’s NCAA men’s regional basketball games. Brown, earlier this week, said it was on his NCAA “wish list” to find a way to allow food trucks to sell their items, especially during the 90-minute break between Thursday’s afternoon and evening sessions.

Because the downtown arena sits in Buffalo Place’s specially-designated district, the agency needed to approve a waiver that would allow food trucks to operate. Technically, Buffalo’s city ordinance prohibits food trucks from selling items in the downtown Buffalo Place district unless the agency grants temporary permits. For the past few years, Buffalo Place has allowed a handful of food trucks to operate as long as they observe the so-called “100-foot rule,” meaning no truck can sell its items within 100 feet of an existing restaurant.

“We always thought food trucks are cool,” said Michael Schmand, Buffalo Place Inc. executive director.

Find the entire article at bizjournals.com <here>

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wraps on wheels rochester nyROCHESTER, NY - An expanded city food truck program will add vending sites at Midtown and possibly other downtown locations this spring. But officials are not yet ready to give the trucks a green light citywide.

The expansion follows a program review that recommended as many as five or six sites be added to the current three.

“That’s the problem right now. There are not enough spots,” said Lou DiMarco, one of 10 food truck operators who took part in the test project begun last summer. The city report estimated there might be up to 40 food trucks in the local area.

DiMarco and his Wraps on Wheels truck were out Thursday on State Street, one of the initially approved locations along with Broad Street and South Avenue, and a little-used third site on Andrews Street. Other sites being considered include Gibbs Street and East Avenue, Court and Exchange streets, Washington Square Park and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park (formerly Manhattan Square Park).

The city review, dated Dec. 31, was released by the city this week in response to a Democrat and Chronicle open records request. It recommended that food trucks be banned in residential districts, “carefully reviewed” in bar districts and limited in city-owned parking lots and metered spaces. The city also should limit long-term vending on private property outside the center city, the report stated, as it could undermine or impede development.

Find the entire article at democratandchronicle.com <here>

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NYC_Hotdog_cartNEW YORK CITY, NY - Would you like some mustard … and an arrest warrant on that?

A Manhattan hot dog vendor is on the run after accumulating $300,000 in unpaid fines for various violations, the New York Post reports.

By obtaining fake IDs and altering social security numbers to obtain new Health Department licenses, the dirty dog known as Ehab Elsayed or Mohamed Elkholy or Mohamed Elsayed (the list of names is probably longer) has been able to stay on the streets.

He’s had his licenses yanked four times between 2005 and 2012, but that hasn’t stopped him from peddling  sketchy wieners. His footlong record of unsanitary salesmanship includes everything from contamination to selling on restricted Midtown streets.

This isn’t the NYPD’s first “ketch-up” with Mr. Elsayed. He was busted in 2012 for felony forgery and tampering with public records, but the charges were reduced and the case was sealed for unknown reasons, according to a Manhattan Supreme Court Clerk.

Mr. Elsayed must really love selling his precious wieners, since he was arrested again in January 2013 for vending without a DOH-license. After missing his June court date, the police issued a new warrant and are on the hunt.

Next time you’re craving a street-treat, choose your hot dogs wisely.

Find the original article <here>

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mcgills food truck
TELEGRAM PHOTO/STEPHANIE SORRELL-WHITE

SCHUYLER, NY – The owner of popular nightspot and eatery Mr. McGill’s in the Town of Schuyler is officially back in business with a mobile unit.

The truck is located at the Mr. McGill’s and DePalma’s Pizza location. You’ll find riggies, greens, fried food, burgers, salads, wings, subs and wraps — everything but pizza.

The fire destroyed the building in January, and while the building had insurance, the owner of the business, Mark Rende, didn’t have the contents of the building insured. The cause of the fire was ruled electrical in nature. Nevertheless, he’s moving forward and serving to-go orders of favorites from the restaurants.

“It’s hard,” Rende said. “You still get up every morning at four o’clock, because we used to open for breakfast. But it’s been hard, so I figured we’d open a food truck to at least try to do some business and recover a little bit.

To place your to-go or delivery order, call 797-8306.

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2013 Vendy AwardsNEW YORK, NY – The Street Vendor Project announced today that Zeina Muna will be the new Managing Director of the 2014 Vendy Awards.

Muna has worked in marketing, brand strategy, media planning and advertising revenue management across the technology, financial services and publishing industries for over eight years. Most recently, she worked at Conde Nast handling media contracts and revenue analysis. She graduated from Georgetown University with degrees in Marketing and Finance, grew up in Athens and Dubai, and is currently a Brooklyn resident.

Muna has a long history with the Vendy Awards- she has attended the street food event for the past seven years and was the Citizen Judge in 2011.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Vendy Awards- the country’s largest street food series and one of the most beloved events in New York City. I look forward to expanding on the accomplishments of past Vendy Awards and working with the street vendors who make this event a success,” said Zeina Muna.

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