NEW YORK, NY – The 9th Annual Vendy Awards, New York City’s premier street food competition, today announced the finalists who will compete for the top prizes: the coveted Vendy Cup and the People’s Taste Award. Chosen from hundreds of vendors nominated by everyday customers, the finalists will face off in an intense grill-to-grill cook-off on Saturday, September 7th being held for the first time at Industry City in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Only one vendor will come out on top in each category.
The finalists are: The Chipper Truck, The Cinnamon Snail, El Olomega, King Souvlaki, and Luke’s Lobster. These five finalists will compete for the chance to be crowned the city’s best food vendor in the Vendy Cup and the People’s Taste Award categories. While the finalists are the same in each category, a panel of six celebrity judges and one citizen judge will select the winner of the Vendy Cup, while attendees at this year’s event will vote on the People’s Taste Award. Videos and more on the finalists can be found here: https://streetvendor.org/vendys/finalists/
Writer, director, comedian, and actress Negin Farsad will Emcee this year’s Vendys. Farsad recently developed and wrote the MTV series “Detox,” directed and produced the Comedy Central series “The Watch List,” and was named one of the 50 Funniest Women by the Huffington Post.
DJ Justin Carter from Mister Saturday Night will provide the rhythm and tunes to keep the crowd moving. Carter cut his teeth DJing and producing secret parties at Asterisk, a pioneering DIY venue in Bushwick that led the way for many other living-spaces-turned-party-places and carved a new path for underground parties in Brooklyn.
Announcing a New Award: For the first time this year – attending vendors will be able to vie for the “Messy Yet Tasty Award,” sponsored by Tide to Go Stain Eraser®, which will be awarded to the truck with the messiest fare. Tide® will be bringing its “Stainbulance” to the event to help solve stain emergencies on-site with a supply of Tide to Go Stain Erasers®. This will be the “Stainbulance’s” second appearance at the Vendys – it first came to the rescue of several stain sufferers at the Philadelphia Vendy Awards in June.
The judges who will decide the winner of the Vendy Cup include:
- Elettra Wiedemann: Model and culinary impresario
- Francis Lam: Judge on Top Chef Masters and Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter
- Garrett Oliver: Brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, Author of The Brewmaster’s Table, Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Companion to Beer
- Justin Warner: Host of Food Network’s Rebel Eats, winner of Food Network Star Season 8, co-chef and owner of Bed-Stuy’s Do or Dine
- Lauren Purcell: Editor-in-Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray
- Pat LaFrieda: Chief Executive Officer, Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors
- Rachael Fauss: Citizen Judge, Policy & Research Manager for Citizens Union
Here’s more on this year’s Vendy Cup and People’s Taste Award finalists, and why they think they should win top honors:
THE CHIPPER TRUCK
Chef/Owner: Valentin & Alice Bermejo
Years in business: 9
Where they’re from: Mexico & Ireland
Schedule: 10pm till 6am
Languages spoken: English
What kind of food do you serve? Irish & American
Specialties: Irish food
Tell us something about your business: We have one of the only Irish food trucks in New York and we are very proud of it!
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Award? We have worked very hard to build our reputation in this neighborhood. Good food is our first priority and a friendly face. We would be honored to win the Vendys as it would help us validate that all we have given up for this truck has been worth it. We are very proud of our truck and the dedication we have put into it. You only have to ask our customers because they come to us day after day.
THE CINNAMON SNAIL
Chef/Owner: Adam Sobel
Years in business: 3.5
Where they’re from: Manhattan
Schedule: Monday- 48th/6th on Varick st or Dumbo, Tuesday- Wall/Water Sts, Wednesday- 55th/Broadway, Thursday- 21st/5th, followed by Jersey City for dinner, Friday- Park between 46/47th, Saturday- 14th/3rd, Sunday- Red Bank NJ
Languages spoken: Mainly a language I made up called FIDGE
What kind of food do you serve? Extra bold flavorful and downright blissful vegan organic food and basically the BOMB pastries that will make your wig fall off.
Specialties: Korean BBQ seitan, vanilla bourbon creme brûlée donuts, Thai BBQ tempeh with pickled Thai basil and red onions, arugula, smoked chili roasted peanuts and sriracha mayo on grilled spelt bread.
Tell us something about your business: This is the 4th year The Cinnamon Snail has been nominated for a Vendy award. This year we are competing for the Vendy Cup. If we win the cup, our plan is to give it a really really sexy makeover with lots of feathers and fake jewels. We also intend to drink cold fresh squeezed grape juice out of it/ and or use it upside down as a hat which the health department requires us to have.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendy Cup? The Cinnamon Snail has become one of the busiest, most loved street vendors in NYC. It has taken a lot of hard work and endless long days, but we are helping the mainstream folks of NYC to appreciate sustainable non-violent food. I fully intend to serve mashed potatoes and gravy in the Vendy Cup should we win it.
Chef/Owner: Janet & Marcos Lainez
Years in business: 23
Where they’re from: El Salvador
Schedule: 10:00am to 8:30pm
Languages spoken: Spanish/English
What kind of food do you serve? Salvadoran Cuisine
Specialties: Pupusas: A Pupusa is a hand made tortilla, made of corn flour (maseca) stuffed with pork & cheese, (ground) chicken & cheese, and various other flavors.
Tell us something about your business: We are family owned and operated and have been in business for over 20 years. We specialize in traditional home style cooking and our products are hand made, fresh and worth the wait. We are committed to showing all New Yorkers and the entire tri-state area that having a Pupusa is unique experience!
Why do you deserve to win the Vendys? For the past 23 years we have strived to maintain our food’s authenticity. This consistency has put us at the top of our industry and has made us the best at what we do! Our attention to the heritage of Salvadorian cooking is what we take pride in and is reflected in our Pupusas.
Chef/Owner: Kostas Tsampas, George Tsampas, and sons Lampros&Lampros
Years in business: 34
Where they’re from: Greece
Schedule: Sun-Wed 9am-8pm Thurs-Sat 9am-5am(all night)
Languages spoken: Greek/English
What kind of food do you serve? Souvlaki sticks, pitas and heros, platters, handcut fries cooked in Greek EVOO
Specialties: Souvlaki and fries
Tell us something about your business: We are a family owned business serving Astoria since 1979. We serve authentic Greek street food.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendys? We have been in this business for over 34 years. We put in our time and it’s about time for our gold wristwatch, if I may be so bold. But more than that, the people love us and we love them back. The food we make is authentic and true to what we grew up with in Greece and we make it with a lot of love and hard work. All the recipes have been passed down from our fathers and grandfathers who all were either chefs or in the streetfood business back in Greece. The “King” in our name was given to us by the customers. We take pride in the ingredients and the quality of our food and we take pride in the work we put In. Ultimately, our customers nominated us and they feel that we deserve this. We love what we do and so do our customers. We just want to thank them and the Vendys for giving us this opportunity from the bottom of our hearts!
Chef/Owner: Luke Holden, Ben Conniff
Years in business: 4
Where they’re from: Maine
Schedule: M-F in NYC, S in Hoboken
Languages spoken: English
What kind of food do you serve? Seafood
Specialties: Lobster rolls from Maine
Tell us something about your business: We are proud to bring a taste of Maine to New York.
Why do you deserve to win the Vendys? We work hard not only to serve the best, freshest seafood but also to practice sustainability at all of our locations.
More information on each of the finalists can be found here: https://streetvendor.org/vendys/finalists/
On August 6th, the Vendys announced its honorees for Most Heroic Vendor, congratulating more than 50 food trucks for their remarkable work serving more than 350,000 free hot meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy in the storm’s aftermath, and honoring the New York City Food Truck Association (NYCFTA) for coordinating the outreach efforts.
On July 22nd, the Vendys announced the finalists for Rookie of the Year, Best Market Vendor, Best Dessert, and Best of New Jersey. Bios and background on each of the finalists can be found here: https://streetvendor.org/vendys/finalists/
The Vendys, the first and largest street food event series in the country, is an annual event to benefit the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, a membership-based organization that provides advocacy and legal services for more than 1,500 vendor members. The 2012 Vendy Awards drew a crowd of more than 2,000 people to the intense food truck showdown to determine New York’s top street chef. The Vendy Awards, which have been New York City’s most beloved street food competition for nine years, recently announced a major national expansion to include events in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Chicago.
“We are excited to bring the Vendys to Industry City, where a number of the festival’s food and beverage items are manufactured,” said Andrew Kimball, CEO of Industry City. “With its culture of food manufacturing and history of supporting New York-based businesses, Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood is the perfect place to celebrate the culinary achievements of the city’s many street food vendors.”
A limited number of Early Entry VIP tickets are still available. For street food lovers who want to access the Vendy Awards an hour early, VIP tickets ensure the ultimate street eating experience, with shorter lines and access to a whole lot more. Tickets are available at: https://nycvendys2013-eorg.eventbrite.com/ Applications for press passes are now being accepted HERE through August 28th. Decisions will be made by September 3rd.
Street food lovers can also get discounted Vendys tickets through Zipcar. By joining Zipcar for $55 using VENDYS1355, you can go to the Vendys for just $40. Want an Early Entry ticket? Join Zipcar using VENDYS1385 and get Early Entry for just $60. Zipcar provides the convenience of having a car parked right around the corner, without any of the hassles or cost. You can get around by the hour or day, and choose from vans to hybrids. Just join, reserve online, unlock and drive away. Every reservation includes gas, insurance and 180 miles per day.
In addition, the Vendy Awards is pleased to announce that artist Nils Folke Anderson is designing furniture and a bar for this year’s event, made with “up-cycled” materials supplied by Industry City. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Anderson has shown his work widely, including at solo exhibitions at Phillips de Pury, The University of Georgia Athens, and the Dikeou Collection.