2009 Vendy Award Finalists Announced!

The finalists for the 2009 Vendy Awards have been announced, and Midtown Lunchers should recognize at least 3 out of 5 of the nominees!  (I can’t get too excited because I’m a judge this year, and have to be completely impartial.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t jump up and down, and do a dance…)  It looks like the Biryani Cart (on 46th & 6th) will get another chance to take home the top prize (last year they won People’s Choice), King of Falafel “Freddie Zeidaies” will represent Queens, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck has got the hipster trucks covered this year, Jamaican Dutchy (on 51st and 7th) makes their first appearance, and the Country Boys/Martinez Taco Truck will be doing the Red Hook Ball Field vendors proud (last year Rafael Soler got to show off his fantastic pupusas.)

For those who are unfamiliar with the Vendy Awards, it’s pretty much the Oscars of the street food world.  It’s put on by the Street Vendor Project, a non profit organization that advocates for vendors, and each year features 5 nominated vendors in a street food cookoff!  There also is the newly added dessert category (in its second year), which lets vendors like the Dessert Truck and Treats Truck (last year’s People’s Choice Award) show off their wares.  Ticket price includes plates of food from all the vendors, and all the proceeds from the event go to benefit the SVP. Judges pick the winners, but attendees get to vote for their favorites- with the winners receiving the coveted “People’s Choice Award”.

Each of this year’s nominated vendors has their own special video.  Check out the Midtown ones, and more about the event, after the jump…

You can view all the videos, read about all the nominees, plus buy tickets for the event on the official Vendy Awards Website.  (But it will definitely sell out so don’t wait until the last minute.) Plus there are still more announcements to come… including the Dessert Nominees, new judges, and more. Follow their Twitter account to be the first to know.

Congrats to all this year’s nominees!


  • Holly shit! OMG OMG!!
    Martinez Taco Truck- Fernando & Jolanda Martinez!!!

    They are my go-to truck at Red Hook! I’ve been going to them for 3+ years now!

    (Doing a dance of joy!!)


  • “Vendy Awards”??

    Are you folks REALLY serious?

    Maybe a jog in your Central Park would help take your mind off of your obvious ‘death wish’ — stuffing your gullet with gawd-knows-what-kind-of-crap from ‘FOOD CARTS’.

  • To those of us who are not flaming imbeciles and are actually interested in MTL, my one question is this: by all accounts, Rickshaw Dumpling does not serve good product, so who did they bribe to become a finalist?

  • Agree w/Fred. Rickshaw totally overcharges and under delivers – they definitely don’t belong in the big league’s with the Biryani cart and Jamaican Dutchy.

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    Hey where is the other finalist youtube clips ? or they have to be a midtown carts to be on the list ??

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    Yeah, don’t get Rickshaw. Go Jamaican Dutchy!

  • Rickshaw???!?!?!? Barf!!!

    I hope Freddie’s wins, he’s the best out of this group despite being in queens.

  • yay because I also voted for Jamaican Dutchy. also super excited about the taco truck because it’d be my first taste of red hook bp. also awesome is the fact that j.torres and p*ong are on the panel. high brow palates critiquing lowbrow food will be interesting.

    also agreed that rickshaw’s seems like the dark horse in this race.

  • Not impressed by Rickshaw either. I had their overpriced duck dumplings two weekends ago. They’re just okay. Nothing special.

    A better choice for restaurant-into-a cart would be Hallo Berlin.

  • Obviously they’re trying to fill a quota for diversity… gotta have an Indian cart, one Asian cart, one Latino cart, and one West Indian/Jamaican cart.

    Affirmative action is always controversial, but at least include better representation… what about Kim’s Aunt Kitchen cart or a (glorious) return of the Happy Well Being cart?

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    Rickshaw? Why? Their dumplings make me so sad. What is it? $6 for 5 not-so-great dumplings or other such ridiculousness?

  • @ chris6s, i was just thinking that too. i don’t think the drawing was 100% democratic because i can’t fathom more people would vote for rickshaw’s than any other cart in nyc.

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    If the nominations are baloney, than the award is meaningless.

    That is obviously the case here.

    Sorry Zach. I call shenanigans and unless there’s some clarity on the nomination process, this is a bullshit award.

    I also wonder where those quotes came from. I tried asking the Google and he had never seen or heard any of them. So who, exactly, said

    “Their dumplings are the best I’ve ever had – by far. I will travel far and wide to eat their delicious dumplings – I dream about the Thai chicken ones!”

    to whom, and why?

    Baloney nominations, quotes of unexplained provenance, nothing on the page about the selection process. This is marketing hype with little regard for substance. Blah.

    A little freakin integrity, please.

    (Falafel cart? Hello, Moshe’s kicks everyone’s ass and everyone knows it.)

  • Did we really need Biryani Cart again? It’s good food, and they won an award last year, but why not let another cart have its chance to shine?

  • hi everyone- we’re sorry some of you are upset/confused about the rickshaw truck being selected as a finalist for the vendys…. the rickshaw truck was actually one of the most nominated carts/trucks on the streets, so while you may not believe it’s one of the best out there, MANY people in the city apparently love it. you’re all passionate about food – it’s up to you guys to nominate your favorites and to encourage your friends to do the same.

    the vendys are going to be great this year, out at the queens museum – hopefully you’ll all still come out and support street food in the city.

  • I want to echo the sentoments above that the Vendys are now clearly a SHAM! (Polite euphemism for ‘bullsh@**##$!’)

    Ricksha is far fromt he best cart dumpling, and much farther from the best cart food in the city. Serious Eats or whoever is handling the Vendys has bveen corrupted. This is total BS. I was thinking of finally attnnding this year, but now I’ll definitely pass. It’s a total fraud.

  • ‘The real’ Dan Cohen–i don’t believe you. If rickshaw is a finalist, you need to change the voting criteria. Buit no way did that sub-par cart make a citywide ‘best’ list. No way.

  • @stevenp: you might not believe it, but there are lots of people in this city – many of whom don’t necessarily post on midtown lunch and/or share the opinions of posters on midtown lunch. rickshaw was one of the most nominated carts out there…. people clearly like ‘em. a lot. hopefully you can look past rickshaw’s presence and join us on 9/26 for a great street food event. you don’t have to eat the dumplings; take down some tacos, jerk chicken, katy rolls and falafel if you’d prefer. and vote for one of those for the people’s taste….

    also, the vendy awards are put on by the street vendor project (www.streetvendor.org), the not-for-profit that helps make sure that there is a vibrant street food culture in the city by advocating for and supporting street vendors’ rights.

  • Eh, it’s not hard to believe that Rickshaw would be better at drumming up shill votes. I guess people don’t always vote rationally… just look at the 2000 and 2004 POTUS elections. :)

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