The final Vendy Awards are coming to Governors Island this Saturday

September 18, 2019

Via Flickr

This weekend is your last chance to enjoy New York City’s famous annual street food showdown. The competition between New York City’s finest street vendors, known as the Vendy Awards, is ending on Saturday, Sept. 21 after 15 years. The last event ever will be held on Governors Island, providing one last chance to enjoy one of the city’s most anticipated food events. Organized by the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, the contest began with only four vendors in 2005. It has since expanded to feature vendors from across the city, serving nearly two thousand food-loving attendees annually and providing a career boost for vendors. The highlight of the event will be the 15 nominees who will compete for the top award, the Vendy Cup.

The Vendys highlight 25 street vendors from all corners of the city, all nominated by the public. Ticket holders can sample unlimited food and drink. Categories include Rookie of the Year, Market Vendor, Breakfast, Dessert, People’s Choice, and the top award, the Vendy Cup. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges that includes city officials, chefs, and television personalities.

This year’s nominees for the Vendy Cup include NY Dosas, King of Falafel and Shawarma, Tony Dragon’s Grille, Patacon Pisao, The Cinnamon Snail, King Souvlaki, Harlem Seafood Soul, Anton’s Dumplings, Biryani House, Mysttik Masaala, Lechonera La Piraña, Cheong Fun Cart, Nuchas, The Arepa Lady, Chef Samir Truck (formerly Comme Ci Comme Ca).

Finalists in the Best Freshman category are Antojitos Doña Fela, Kingston Food Truck, Tong, Terry and Yaki, Mom’s Momo, Mak’s Malaysian Food, and Birria-Landia. Best Dessert finalists are Wafels & Dinges and Dulcinea.

The event has provided street vendors with the chance to present their wares to a wider audience. Many who were a hit at the Vendys were able to establish themselves at popular food events like Smorgasburg and in dozens of food halls across the city.

“We thought 15 years would be a nice, good, clean point to, you know, go out on a high note,” Sean Basinski, the founder of the Street Vendor Project, told Grub Street. “We kind of feel, honestly, that the Vendys have mostly accomplished if you will, what we set out to 15 years ago. The landscape has changed so much, and we’re going out in style.”

Last year’s prizewinners included Royal Grill Halal, Burmese Bites, Nansense, D’Abruzzo, Mama Jo’s Breakfast Cart, and Baonanas. This year’s finalists for the 2019 Vendy Awards are listed here. Tickets start at $100 for adults and $60 for kids 8-12 (kids under 8 are free) and can be purchased at here. All proceeds support the Street Vendor Project.


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