Souvlaki GR | Pork Souvlaki Sandwich
The Sixth Annual Vendy Awards, held Saturday, drew over a thousand ravenous street-food enthusiasts to Governors Island. Contestants included a roster of international cuisines, from French-Moroccan bistro fare to Venezuelan street snacks. Not to mention their hipster brethren, notably 2010 rookie Mexicue, serving succulent wood-smoked 'cue like short rib tacos.
Had there been a prize for the most bizarre truck, the six-month-old Cinnamon Snail—whose mantra was "vegan food to help you transform into a being of pure light"—surely would have won. Adam Sobel and his crew dressed like cops and grooved to techno as they slung such startlingly delicious vegan fare as grilled tofu over coconut mashed yams. "I always dress like this—I love 'Law & Order,'" Sobel joked. (The cop uniforms were a sly reference to problems the Hoboken, N.J.–based vendor has had with local law enforcement.)
"I’m excited for the rookie vendors," said street-food enthusiast and Midtown Lunch founder Zach Brooks. "It doesn’t matter who wins. It’s all about the vendors and raising money for the Street Vendor Project. It gets lost in all the hipsterness of the food-truck scene."
At the end of the day, it was the old-school ethnic carts that prevailed. The King of Falafel and Shawarma took home both the Vendy trophy itself and the People's Choice Award. Three-week-old Souvlaki GR truck, which pulled out all the stops by transforming its area into a Greek festival complete with music and seating, took home the award for Rookie Vendor. Best Dessert went to Kelvin Natural Slush Co., whose frozen concoctions generated some of the longest lines in the sweltering heat.
By Joe DiStefano; photos by Gabi Porter