The Results Are In For The 12th Annual Vendy Awards

Sample cuisine from one of the 2015 Vendy rookie finalists. Photo by Clay Williams
Sample cuisine from one of the 2015 Vendy rookie finalists. Photo by Clay Williams

The results are in, and NYC has crowned 2016’s top street chef. More than 2,000 foodies flocked to Governors Island to cast their votes at the 12th annual Vendy Awards, where Tacos el Rancho took home the top prize: the coveted Vendy Cup.

The winners in all six categories of the 2016 Vendy Awards are: 

  • The Vendy Cup: Tacos el Rancho

    The Soriano family of Tacos el Rancho in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 2016 Vendy Cup winners. Pictured with Street Vendor Project Leadership Board member, Heleadora Vivar (far right). Photo credit: Clay Williams
    The Soriano family of Tacos el Rancho in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 2016 Vendy Cup winners. Pictured with Street Vendor Project Leadership Board member, Heleadora Vivar (far right). Photo credit: Clay Williams
  • People’s Choice: Cachapas on Wheels
  • Rookie of the Year: Mr. Bing
  • Best Market Vendor: Big Mozz  
  • Best Dessert Vendor: The Good Batch
  • Best Vegan Vendor: Mysttik Masaala
  • People’s Choice Vegan Vendor: Monk’s Meat

“Congratulations to this year’s Vendy Awards winners and finalists! We are proud to work with so many street vendors who are expanding the food landscape and making New York City a more exciting and flavorful place. Every year, our winners and finalists represent the diverse community of street vendors in this city, and we hope to see more opportunities for people who want to start street-based small businesses through our campaign to lift the caps on vending permits. We look forward to next year’s Vendy Awards, and continuing to create a space to celebrate the hard work of these vendors. Here’s to taco trucks on every corner!” said Sean Basinski, Director, Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center.

For more on the Vendy finalists, visit the official website.

Below is the all-star panel of judges who judged the Vendy Cup and two special guest judges for the Vegan category:

  • Julia Moskin: New York Times Dinning Reporter
  • Helen Hollyman: Editor-in-Chief of MUNCHIES, VICE’s food website
  • Chitra Agrawal: Founder of Brooklyn Delhi, an award-winning Indian condiments company
  • Daniel Holzman: Chef and owner of The Meatball Shop
  • Nicole A. Taylor: Host of Hot Grease, a food culture podcast, and is the author of The UpSouth Cookbook: Chasing Dixie in a Brooklyn Kitchen
  • Chef Chloe Coscarell, special guest judge for Vegan Category: Chef and owner of “By Chloe” restaurants and first vegan winner of the Food Network’s reality-competition series “Cupcake Wars”
  • Chef Adam Sobel, special guest judge for Vegan Category: Chef and owner of the 4-time Vendy award-winning Cinnamon Snail food truck
NYC Food Waste Fair July 2017 728×90

This year’s awards also honored a former Vendy’s finalist and now restaurant empire, The Halal Guys, with the “Hero Award” for their philanthropic efforts. Earlier this year, the owners gave a $30,000 donation to LaGuardia Community College in Queens to provide scholarships to students. Mohamed Abouelenein, President and co-founder of The Halal Guys, has three children who studied at LaGuardia Community College, and The Halal Guys continue to operate a cart outside the college.


The Vendy Awards, the first and largest street food event series in the country, is an annual event to benefit the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, a membership-based organization that provides advocacy and legal services for nearly 2,000 vendor members. The Vendys’ modest beginnings took place in 2005 in an East Village garage; today, the nation’s first street food event has expanded across the country to include events in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Follow the day’s events with the #Vendys2016 tag on Twitter and Instagram.