Frites N Meats Lashes Out At Schnitzel Truck Over Parking Spot

As more and more “new school” trucks started hitting the streets over the past few years there was a lot of talk about Old School vs. New School vendor clashes. Well, more recently is seems like we’ve been hearing about a lot more fights between Old-New-School trucks and New-New-School trucks. The latest battle took place on Monday between two well known Midtown trucks, over a shared Downtown spot… and yesterday Frites N Meats (one of the trucks involved) took to their blog to vent about it:

We, at Frites’N'Meats, are pretty much live and let live people. We have no interest in interfering with others, disrespecting others or foisting our beliefs or ways of doing things on others. We believe that it’s not cool to go to a spot that a person has occupied every day for years and essentially force them out for your benefit, but we do not think that just because you occupy a certain spot one day a week that you somehow “own” that spot the other days that you’re not there…I know that sounds a little confusing, so let me provide an example without using names.

We used to park on Water & Broad in FiDi on Mondays, while another truck parked there Tuesdays. Then one day, due to their decreasing sales, the owner of the other truck came to us and said “I have to change my spots around. I want to be in that spot on Monday, you have to leave!” They then proceeded to tell us that they had the right to kick us out since they “owned” that spot because they had been coming there one day a week for 6 months. We told them that that didn’t seem right as these are public streets and anyone is allowed to be there. Our reasonable comments upset this vendor greatly who then proceeded to start shouting and threatening to physically assault us.

We understand that business is business, but making violent threats as well as claiming “ownership” of something that is clearly public and does not belong to anyone but the city is a bit over the top. This is especially difficult to comprehend since when we thought of parking on Water & Broad we informed this particular vendor that we would be doing that. At that time they had no issue with that, nor did they make any conditions on our being able to do so. Anyway, just wanted to express that and give you a bit of a glimpse in the “seedy underbelly” of the street food business. It ain’t as glamorous as it appears.

Read the complete blog post here

They didn’t “name names” but everybody knows the Schnitzel and Things truck parks on Water & Broad on Tuesdays… so we contacted owner Oleg for a response. He denied threatening anybody with violence and said it was in fact Vadim from the Frites N Meats truck who hurled a platter of schnitzel at his brother.

Of course we’ll never know what really happened… but Vadim does have a history of flying off the handle (in print), and Oleg has had his share of run ins with other vendors.  Of course this time the shoe is on the other foot. You may remember that back in August of last year it was Schnitzel & Things that was the “new school” vendor trampling on Mister Softee’s toes/space. And it was Oleg who was the one yelling about “we will not back down when it comes to OUR livelihoods!!” Basically, the Schnitzel Truck rocked the boat when they first arrived and now the even newer guy, Frites N Meats, is coming in with the same Me First attitude.

Not surprisingly Oleg has realized that we were right when we sided with Mr. Softee, and that street vendors need to follow the “unwritten rules”.  Not just because a free for all, survival of the fittest attitude could possibly bring an end to all street vending, but also because eventually the new guy becomes the old guy.  And the old guy is always going to want to protect what he has built up.  Just recently, Wafels and Dinges and Papa Perrone’s got in a similar tiff. But, luckily, Wafels deferred to Papa Perrone’s routine knowing full well that “it pays in the long run to treat other vendors with respect.” Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because Thomas knows that vendors are in a precarious position with the police and brick and mortar businesses.  And even if a truck parks in a space one or two days a week, the trucks who come and park there the other 3-4 days a week are going to have an effect on how the neighborhood views street vending in general.

Some businesses are willing to tolerate one truck a few days a week, but could get angry if there are trucks outside their building every day, or if one truck a day turns into three trucks a day.  We’re not exactly sure what this particular argument was about, so we can’t say who was right or wrong… but to pretend as if truck owners shouldn’t care what happens in spots that they only occupy once or twice a week is naive (especially if nobody had ever parked in that spot before.)

We’re a big fan of both Schnitzel & Things and Frites N Meats, and hope they can work this out between themselves.  But let this be a lesson to all new vendors looking to open a truck in NYC. Learn about how the street food business works before you go picking too many fights. You might be the new guy at first, but one day you are going to be the veteran and some young punk is going to be yelling at you about how it’s a free country and “nobody owns the streets”.

What If “Natural Selection” Leads to the End of All Street Food?
What Happened At the Schnitzel & Things Truck Yesterday?
Schnitzel Truck Responds: “It’s Not Our Fault!”

Written by Zach Brooks with Additional Writing and Reporting by Amy Cao


  • Aww come on guyyys. Why can’t we just get along.

  • If only it were possible for NYC to find a way to legalize street vending, maybe with some kind of permit or licensing system to keep it from getting out of control.

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    Well I certainly would take exception if someone said hey my business sucks this day of the week and you look like your doing good that other day of the week so we want to park there now on that day… Pretty childish… like two kids… one who has the old toy that isnt as shiny as the new toy trying to take the other kids new toy because his sucks… I understand the unwritten rules but if Frites and Meat has good business on a particular day and Schnitzel wants to park there because of that then thats wrong… The guy made a business decision to park there on a particular day and sales havent been as robust… so instead of forcing someone out because they’ll do better that day, they should be more creative in finding ways to make more money on the day they are scheduled to park there.

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      If Frites N Meats’s depiction of the situation is accurate, I cannot see how Schnitzel can be correct this time around. It’s not like S&T wanted the spot clear on Monday so that businesses wouldn’t complain – it’s that S&T wanted to take Monday for themselves because Tuesday was too slow.

      I don’t think this compares at all to a situation in which a new truck actually “steals” the spot/day/time of an old truck. Based on FnM’s post, it just sounds like S&T is just trying to bully its way into taking FnM’s day at the spot. To me, that’s a bigger issue than the alleged threats which may or may not happened.

      Would love to see S&T address why they need to park in the spot on Mondays so badly. Maybe there could be some valid reason, but “slow sales” would not be enough to displace a truck that’s already there Mondays, and I would think S&T would know that. Sounds like something else is up.

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    ““seedy underbelly” of the street food business. It ain’t as glamorous as it appears”

    Huh? I must’ve missed that memo.

    Supply and demand dictates. A resourceful vendor who has something desirable to offer will find a spot and it’s following. Even the best spot won’t help one with piss poor product/attitude (although the continued existence of the dumpling dump truck continues to strain credulity).

    More concerning is, once again, a perceived manufactured controversy providing filler in lieu of content, but that’s just me (or is it?). How long before the sham SVP steps in (or is there not enough exposure to be bothered)?

    I guess that’s what 2800 miles and bringing in ringers who can’t focus on the challenge of a finite universe yields, the endless quest for content disproving the theorem that quantity is it’s own quality.

    As for two vendors bickering over territory, who gives a flying fuck?

  • “Now please kindly go fuck yourselves or each other”
    This guys my hero fucck fuckk fuckety fucck.

  • the city ought to figure out a way to monetize this and make it less of a headache for people.

  • no one ever said it was glamorous. and it’s a lot more complicated than creating demand with a good product. lots of good products fail to win people over because they’re overshadowed by cheaper alternatives, commercial brainwashing, and low exposure.

    if you’ve noticed, a lot of these trucks only run a few hours a day at most. some also run only seasonally. generally, not one has the means to “create” the demand (via marketing) that B&Ms with generous, deep-pocketed parent companies can.

    we all know what the ‘ideal’ solution is, but it’s not feasible for a lot of companies. one of the few things they really have control over that can affect the bottom line is their parking space.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    frites and snitzel trucks also park in the same spot on park ave between 27th and 28th but at different times.

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    Wait, you’re saying that even assuming that Frites’ basic version of the story is correct (that Schnitz is demanding that Frites gives up *Mondays*, on the grounds that Schnitz has been parking there on *Tuesdays* for longer), you’re siding with Schnitz? Huh? That makes absolutely no sense to me.

    @Bossman: “Even the best spot won’t help one with piss poor product.” That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on this site. There’s this place I heard of called Times Square. I guess the restaurants there are popular because the food is so good.

    • I’m not siding with anybody… but I think there is more to the story then what Frites N Meats posted on their blog. And, to Spydr’s point- I don’t think this is just about one spot downtown. I think Frites has made it a habit of following Schnitzel & Things around- rather than cultivating their own spots.

      My point is just that the new vendor eventually becomes the old vendor… so be careful how you act when you’re new to the scene. Because 6 months from now you might complaining about a new truck doing the same shit that you were doing when you first started.

      • Yeah, that’s true. FiDi, 52nd & 6th, 48th & 6th, etc. Thing is, if it’s different days, wtf should S&T care. Frankly, first come first serve. If you want the spot, get there early. They should work together and let eachother know ahead of time where their spot is going to be. But expecting to use the same spot on a different day is dumb. I didn’t see Cravings complain that S&T or F&M were on 48th and 6th (Cravings was there on mondays long before either of those trucks came around).

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      “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever read on this site.”

      You haven’t been paying attention.

  • That’s ridiculous! I am boycotting both carts in protest! Either play nice or don’t play at all! Both of you to your rooms!

    (If I was Frites, and I had the Mon. spot first, I would tell shnitzel to F8Ck off….Seriously…Those guys must be assholes–I’ve never bothered to try it and looks like that streak will continue…)

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    Definitely ridiculous on Schnitz’ part. The funny thing is that Schnitz told the Frites to get out, Frites OBLIGED and asked for a week!!! to find a new spot (how’s that unreasonable?) and the fuckin bully schnitz started threatening and cursing out frites.

    as I see it Frites is the reasonable side of this disagreement.

    Side note, Zach is obviously siding with Schnitz that’s a no-brainer

    • Agreed. Zach is on the side of Schnitz. The old guy / new guy is not relevant since we’re talking about different days. If anything, Schnitz would be the new guy on Mondays.

  • Bad publicity is better than no publicity?

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    I’m sorry, but the analysis in this post is absurd. Schnitz parks in the spot once a week on Tuesdays, so they get to boss around people with regard to other days of the week? Are you joking?

    This isn’t a case of the new guy taking the older guy’s spot – like Schnitz did a few months ago with Mr. Softee. This is a case of the old guy getting pissed because the new guy is more successful. Schnitz NEVER OCCUPIED that spot on Mondays, so why would you portray it as if there was some legitimate claim based on an established routine?


  • Even if they switched, I bet Schnitz still wouldn’t get the buisness. It’s still mostly the same customers anyway. I think Frites is more successful because they are simply better. Aside from burgers being the trendy meals of NYC, I think Schnitz is over priced and bland. All of their sides need salt, badly, and the schnitz itself can get old. The meat is paper thin. I went once a few months ago – will never again. I admit the fried burger is tempting, but it has very mixed reviews.
    Ef Schnitz. I’m on team F&M.

    There, I said it.

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    How about a steele cage match to settle it, with special referee, Mr. T?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    I’ve always liked both trucks and think they both make pretty decent food. Neither is amazing or way more deserving of business than the other in my opinion.

    However, what’s weird about this is when F&M first opened, S&T did a lot of promotion for them – in fact, I learned about F&M right when they first opened through S&T’s twitter. I do think they’ve been working off each other and F&M has definitely used S&T as a location model to work off of, but I don’t think that means S&T has any right to tell them when they can park somehwere, especially since they’ve both had set schedules for a while. I’ve definitely found S&T to be fairly impatient with their spots and they mix them up a lot, which I think is probably the bigger problem here.

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    You people need a hobby….. or a man/woman as the case may be (man for you Prato)…. or, perhaps, a real job.

    • Bossman, I must respectively decline your offer for intimate relations. My wife, and my orifices, both reject the notion of such an engagement.

      May I direct you to CockChug10? I hear he likes being on all fours for his cousin…



  • The above was written by, uh, let’s see, a fairly frequent ML reader/commenter? One might think that with the site not serving his interests, _he_ (in this sense not dissimilar to DocChuck) might be the one in need of a hobby.

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