Celebrate NYC street food at the Vendy Awards
On Sept. 7, you might want to skip breakfast.
That’s because the 9th annual Vendy Awards, organized by the Street Vendor Project, invades Sunset Park that afternoon. Both a contest and a showcase, this year it will be bigger than ever.
In addition to the “Vendy Cup” award, which goes to the best vendor of the year, this year sees the addition of the “Market” vendor category, awarding participants in regular street fairs and markets, such as Smorgasburg, and the “Heroic” vendor category, made up of vendors who, coordinated by the New York City Food Truck Association, providing more than 350,000 hot meals in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
"It's a beautiful example of the city coming together," said Sean Basinski, director of the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center about the vendors' outreach.
This year’s event is at Industry City, a place where culinary innovators and artists work.
The evolution and surging trendiness of street food in New York City makes sense.
“The vendors reflect the diversity of the city,” said Basinski. For him, the awards honor the folks who are out there every day fusing their cultures and tradition into their food.
"Each vendor represents these unique New York experiences, and accurately represents the diversity we see every day," said Helena Tubis, managing director of the Vendy Awards.
This year's Vendy Cup finalists are The Chipper Truck, featuring Irish food, El Olomega, specializing in pupusas, Luke's Lobster, King Souvlaki and The Cinnamon Snail, serving vegan organic food.
Adam Sobel of The Cinnamon Snail (@veganlunchtruck), who has participated in past Vendy Awards, already has an idea of what volume to expect at the competition, and has honed the way to "showcase the best, wonderful stuff for the people."
Ariel Barbouth of Nuchas (@NuchasNYC), whose empanadas are up for this year's Rookie award, encourages some friendly competition.
"I look at [the other finalists] as coworkers, not as competitors," he said. "I love being in the truck, talking to people and enjoying myself."
Other finalists in the Rookie category include Toum, who serve authentic Lebanese cuisine, and pizza truck Neapolitan Express. Finalists in the new Market vendor category include East Village favorite Porchetta and Thai street food truck Khao Man Gai NY.
The Vendy Awards, Industry City, 116 39th St., Sunset Park, 2:30 - 7 p.m. Info and tickets: streetvendor.org/vendys