2014 Vendy Awards Announce Finalists in New All-Star Masters Cup

Category Brings Back the “Best-of-the-Best” Vendy Cup Winners of Past Years. 10th Annual Vendy Awards Will Be Held Saturday, September 13th on GovernorsIsland.

The 10th annual Vendy Awards, New York City’s premier street food competition, today announced the finalists for the new Masters Cup. In honor of the milestone anniversary, this one-time only category will bring back past Vendy Cup winners, considered the best of the best, to face off in the intense grill-off on Saturday, September 13th on Governors Island. Only one vendor will be chosen as the ultimate master of NYC street food among past all-stars.

The finalists are: Calexico, Hallo Berlin, King of Falafel, NY Dosa Guy, and Solber Pupusas

The Vendy Awards put these vendors on the gastronomical map and they have come a long way since their initial Vendy Cup win. Some have gone to on to expand their fleet of trucks, become a franchise, or establish brick-and-mortar restaurants. Regardless, they’ve became a staple of the NYC food scene.

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Calexico (2008 Winner): After being inspired at the first Vendy Awards in 2005, the Vendley Brothers and Peter Oleyer opened up their own food cart in 2006 and participated as Vendy finalists that same year. They went on to win the Vendy Cup in 2008 with their Mexican/Southern BBQ-inspired food. Since then Calexico has expanded its taco truck into a fleet of restaurants throughout the city, was named Best Mexican by Zagat, and in 2012 was selected to a vendor inside of the Barclays Center.

Hallo Berlin (2005 Winner): Hallo Berlin was the first ever German food cart that opened in New York City, and was also the winner of the first Vendy Cup in 2005. The “German Soul Food” cart has made multiple appearances since and today fans can visit their Hell’s Kitchen restaurant for inexpensive German specialties.

King of Falafel (2010 Winner): Owner Freddy Zeideia started his Astoria food cart in 2002, and became famous for his specialty chicken shawarma and white sauce, all made from scratch. In 2010, he went on to win both the Vendy Cup and the People’s Choice Award. Since the Vendys, the demand for his food has been so intense that he has opened a 2nd cart in Midtown, dabbled in selling frozen “heat-and-eat falafel” in supermarkets, and is in the planning stages for opening a restaurant in the near future.

NY Dosa Guy (2007 Winner): Thiru Kumar’s vegetarian/vegan food cart competed in the Vendy Awards in 2006 before winning the Vendy Cup in 2007. A Sri Lankan native, Thiru has one of the first vegan food trucks with legions of followers and claims to have fan clubs in California and Japan. A popular Village staple, his cart has been listed in 42 guidebooks and is considered a classic street food vendor.

Solber Pupusas (2011 Winner): Solber Pupusas has operated out of Red Hook Ballfields for 15 years and was one of the Brooklyn Flea’s first vendors in the expanding market food scene. The owners, a husband and wife team from El Salvador, won the Vendy Cup in 2011 and are renowned for their pupusas, a traditional Salvadoran dish made of corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, pork, beans, and other fillings.

Bios and background on each of the category finalists can be found here: www.vendyawards.streetvendor.org/newyorkcity/

And the Vendys Awards has also come along way. It started with four food trucks in 2005 and swelled to over 175 total vendors participating throughout the years. Now, the event is a coast-to-coast food staple with the Vendys hosting competitions in Philadelphia, LA, New Orleans, and Chicago.

In the coming weeks, the finalists for the Vendy Cup, the top prize at the Vendy Awards, along with the list of judges, will be announced.

General Admission tickets are on sale now for $95. To see the entire list of ticket prices offered for the 2014 Vendys, visit https://nycvendys.eventbrite.com.

The Vendys, the first and largest street food competition 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 more than 1,800 vendor members. The 2013 Vendy Awards drew a crowd of more than 2,000 people to the intense grill-to-grillcook-off to determine New York’s top street chef. The Vendy Awards, which have been New York City’s most beloved street food competition for the past decade, recently expanded to include events in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Chicago.

Follow the Vendy Awards on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest news and announcements at @VendyAwards


The Vendy Awards, the first and largest street food event series in the country, are an annual event organized by the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, a membership-based organization of more than 1,800 active vendors who are working together to create a vendor movement for permanent change. SVP’s famed Vendy Awards have determined New York City’s top street chef for nine years, and have become one of the most beloved and widely-anticipated food events in New York and across the country. The money raised by the events supports the non-profit Street Vendor Project in its advocacy work to promote street food and the people who sell it.

The Street Vendor Project is part of the Urban Justice Center, a non-profit organization that provides legal representation and advocacy to various marginalized groups of New Yorkers. To join their list of supporters, please click here. Follow the Street Vendor Project on Twitter at @VendorPower.