New York Comic Con 2018

mario header gif.gif

Is Comic Con the new adult Halloween?


New York Comic Con is basically the pregame to the #1 costume holiday of the year but better. And instead of trick-or-treating for candy, cosplayers hop from food truck to food truck collecting savory treats to fuel up for the next panel.

If you were an attendee in years past and had the chance to stop by the Food Truck Village at the Javits Center, you know exactly what you are committing to for some of the best truck grub in the city all under one overhang! It’s all about strategy for large events just like NYCC.

-

Check out some of our favorite memories from this year!

See you next year!

Event Recap: 2018 Vendy Awards

“The Oscars of Street Food” has come and gone and we are STILL FULL. This past weekend, street vendors from across the boroughs came together on Governor’s Island for the annual cook off to celebrate what it means to be a successful small business. The NYFTA team had the privilege to stuff our faces again this year, support some of our favorite vendors and to scope out some new faces at the 2018 Vendy Awards.


It was a brisk Saturday and the perfect way to celebrate the First Day of Fall on Governor’s Island.

Food trucks and carts lined Colonel’s Row according to their nominee category, with music bumping and the smells of cultures mixing together wafting over the green space.


- 2018 VENDY FINALISTS -

Photo Sep 22, 4 15 02 PM.jpg

VENDY CUP

Burmese Bites

Franky’s Souvlaki

Jianetto’s Pizza

El Saboroso De Aracataca

Royal Grill Halal Food *WINNER*


Photo Sep 22, 4 23 02 PM.jpg

BEST BREAKFAST VENDOR

Cheong Fun Rice Noodle Cart

Evelia’s Tamales Mexicanos

King David Tacos

Mama Jo’s Breakfast Cart *WINNER*

Saravanaa Bhavan


Photo Sep 22, 3 21 36 PM.jpg

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Jak! Chinese

Makina Cafe

Mannahatta Mediterranean

Mr. Khao Man Gai

Nansense *WINNER*


Photo Sep 24, 2 06 32 PM.jpg

BEST MARKET VENDOR

Caspanish

D’Abruzzo NYC *WINNER*

Hometown Spring Pancakes

IEatLaoFood

Taste of Surabaya


Photo Sep 22, 3 07 46 PM.jpg

BEST DESSERT VENDOR

Baonanas *WINNER*

Bonsai Kakigori

Delmy’s Obleas

Malai Ice Cream

Twister Cake


Check out the Vendy’s instagram for more tagged photos from the weekend!

It has been an unofficial trend in recent years for Vendy Award winners to see a boom in their street vending or food truck business after being crowned in their respective categories ;)

We can’t wait to see how these small businesses grow with the support of their amazing community! Keep your eyes peeled.

3 Creative Ways to Use a Food Truck at your Next Event

Long headline, important topic.

Every event is unique in it’s own way - from the venue to the food being served, all the way down to why the event is being hosted. There are many creative ways to utilize a food truck for a WOW factor that will leave a long-lasting impression on your guests and set your event apart from the rest of the pack.

friends wow.gif

1. Use the physical truck as a brandable space

Fabricate the food truck with a fun, eye-catching design to grab the attention of the masses. Use hashtags, social media slogans and recognizable branding to get your message across. Brighter colors look so cool driving through the streets of Manhattan!

For a brand activation, plan to stop in diverse, high traffic locations throughout the city and boroughs to get the most out of the mobile advertising space.

 A brand activation in partnership with MiQ and El Toro Rojo was an eye-catcher!

A brand activation in partnership with MiQ and El Toro Rojo was an eye-catcher!

2. Customize and personalize

The NYFTA members all have great menus that they are known for but pairing down their catering menu to 2-5 options makes it seem like more thought went into the event and helps expedite ordering and service two-fold! Several of the members have vegetarian options available upon request so you can think ahead to accommodate any dietary restrictions.

Weather is also a huge factor in determining an event menu. If your event is being held outside during the summer, you know it’s going to be sweltering and might consider choosing cooler menu items such as lobster rolls, sides of guacamole, cold brew coffee or ice cream sandwiches.

 Red Hook Lobster Pound knows how to keep guests cool at an outdoor summertime event!

Red Hook Lobster Pound knows how to keep guests cool at an outdoor summertime event!

Another way to customize is to use the food service products to your advantage.

Napkins, food containers, drink cups, stickers: you name it and you can customize it! These are great takeaways that guests physically hold and take with them after they visit a food truck. Even if they get thrown away at some point, the brand impression is still there.

3. Add interactive elements

  • Place a drop box near the truck service window for business cards if you are hosting a corporate event to enter a drawing for a raffle. Everyone loves swag!

  • Use signage to your advantage. Most food trucks have a menu board you can either customize or use as a part of your truck fabrication. An “A frame” sign on the sidewalk next to the food truck is also useful for explaining menu selections and welcoming guests in an unexpected way.

  • Staff brand ambassadors (shout out to Mustard Lane) to engage with attendees, take orders, collect emails or use technology to show live clips of a product you are launching.

  • A photo booth might seem overdone but if used in a strategic way, it can have a huge impact on the engagement factor of your event. Guests can snap a photo and quickly post directly to social media using your wedding hashtag or tagging your brand.

No matter how you go about incorporating different elements and details into your event, consider this evidence that food trucks are always an unexpected treat!

Now go forth and get creative!

Food Holidays: September

qf9w1.jpg

September typically signifies the end of summer, transition to fall and all the glorious things that come with it. We aren't talking PSLs and crunchy leaves just yet (since it's still 90 degrees in New York City), but rather the random reasons eat more food :) Our food truck vendors have the perfect way to celebrate this month.


- September 5th - National Cheese Pizza Day -

+

- September 20th - National Pepperoni Pizza Day - 

Do we even need a food holiday in order to eat pizza? The answer is no but it's still a great excuse to find a slice not once, but twice this month. Abeetz, Neapolitan Express and Valducci's are our top picks for street pizza.

 

- September 12th - National Chocolate Milkshake Day -

You could go to a diner for a classic milkshake...orrrrrrr you could get handed one from a food truck! Bona Bona and Carnivale Donut Bar are both your mobile solution for a twist on this sweet frozen treat. Summer will last forever at this point so might as well continue eating ice cream.

- September 13th - National Peanut Day -

We are huge fans of PB and anything with PB on it especially when it is on or in between something sweet. Glazed & Confused's Peanut Butter Cup mini donuts drizzled in chocolate and peanut butter sauces are actually something out of our sweet dreams. Wafles and Dinges, a cult classic, lets you customize your waffle toppings so you can load up on the peanut butter!

Photo Sep 04, 11 48 01 AM.jpg

- September 18th - National Cheeseburger Day -

Stuf'd is known for their crazy, larger than life sandwiches and their Angus Cheeseburger doesn't disappoint. Grab some napkins, use two hands and bite into their signature thick slices of savory bread and their version of an American classic.

 

Happy eating, you can find us jamming to Earth, Wind and Fire with fists full of food all month.

giphy.gif

"Cool" Eats

giphy.gif

And we aren’t just talking about ice cream for once! With summer winding down (also, when did that happen?) we are all looking forward to fall (that’s right, we said it). Until then, we can rely on some of our favorites to lower our core temp while out and about.

You may not realize it, but a lot of our food truck members serve certain menu items that don’t need to be heated and are best served cold. You can still get your food truck fix and cool down at the same time! Take a look at some examples that are refreshingly satisfying.


Starting off with something traditional, Rita’s Italian Ices and Andy’s Italian Ices are both a given for summer. We love both of these food truck members for their versatility and that nostalgic, fun feeling you get when you get a giant scoop of frozen sweetness on a hot day.

Toum Lebanese is the expert when it comes to garlic and with that comes their incredibly authentic (and award winning) garlic hummus. Best served and eaten cold with a side of warm pita (or a spoon, it’s up to you).

We’ve talked about El Toro Rojo’s guac before but one can never get enough! It is the perfect refreshing snack with it’s cool blend of avocados, cilantro and a little added heat from the spices.

Souvlaki GR is the mediterranean hostess with the mostest and when it comes to their salads, you can have whatever you like. Combining their fresh ingredients like cucumber, kalamata olives and feta with a warm chicken skewer makes it a dish you could eat year round.

The way lobster rolls are prepared comes down to personal preference and everyone on the East Coast has their own strong opinion on the subject: warm vs. cold lobstah. We prefer to be able to have this seafood all the time so it makes the perfect summer AND winter meal! Luke’s Lobster and Red Hook Lobster are perfect options with multiple locations around the city if you are craving a cold one.

And last but not least, a NYFTA team favorite and the coolest of treats: Melt Bakery. This one might be obvious but they are so good we do not care. With inventive flavors and new concepts coming out every month, Melt has found its way into the hearts (and hands) of its most loyal customers.

olaf summer gif.gif

Stay cool!


Brand Ambassadors (and why you need them)

giphy.gif

Imagine this: you walk outside and there is a mobile billboard stationed in front of your office in Midtown. Maybe you Tweet to spin a prize wheel, maybe you are handed free hot chocolate, maybe you stop and ask the people in matching shirts who look like they are part of the madness "what's going on?" The answer is: no one knows...but Brand Ambassadors look good doing it!

Now the question is: where do these Brand Ambassadors come from? We work exclusively with a company called Mustard Lane, which brands themselves as "the nation's one stop shop for all your staffing needs" and they certainly hold true to that statement! Their roster of “Laners” includes industry professionals from across the country and their selective casting process means that all of their Laners come to your event vetted, tried and true.

 Twitter's #WhatsHappening activation during Summer 2018

Twitter's #WhatsHappening activation during Summer 2018

Brand Ambassadors are such an important addition to any event or brand activation where you are trying to get a clear and concise message out to your audience. They don't just stand there handing out food samples, they are actually professionally trained to interact with and engage your target audience. Teams can come in all shapes and sizes with a wide range of abilities. Need to collect email addresses? Need to manage a crowd? Spinning prize wheels and getting excited when someone wins a foam finger? They can do it all.

 

Mustard Lane works with some of the biggest brand names (including the biggest of them all: NYFTA ;) ) to bring events to life and they are also fun people to work with! Take a look some of our recent projects where we had some Laners!

Mustard Lane recently featured us on their own blog if you want to read more about the biz from their perspective and to see what else they have going on! We promise we didn't pay them to say nice things, but they said nice things.

Ask us about bringing on Brand Ambassadors to your next NYFTA project! You won't regret it.

phjl16kikg2qbwe.gif

Behind the Window: Toum NYC

You have your favorite food trucks (and we have ours) but have you ever wondered what goes on beyond the serving window? The food truck industry is exciting, fast paced and challenging but those who are in the biz do it for the love of the game.

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes of Toum: NYC’s most popular Lebanese food truck.


You might recognize them by the cute little garlic man on their truck fabrication or maybe you’ve seen them at a NYFTA event recently. They are everywhere! Starting as a humble side catering business for family and friends in the community by request has turned into a full blown operation with a huge following. Regulars find them for their authentic cuisine (stuffed grape leaves on a food truck?) and stay for the staff’s smiling faces.

What goes on during a regular food truck meal service might be clear to some but is a mystery to most. It is not always be pretty (especially when there's a line) but the madness leads to deliciousness.

Depending on the truck, there could be anywhere between 2-6 people working in a confined space at a time. Think of your one-bedroom apartment being converted into a three-bedroom: space is hard to come by but just like your walk up in the city, they make use of the space they do have. Toum even made room for their vertical meat spit! Innovation is the key to success in any mobile kitchen. Toum specifically has to pre-plan storage for to-go salad containers, utensils to hand out as well as transport all beverages (including their signature lemonade). Toum as well as all of the NYFTA members have their Department of Health certifications to ensure quality and cleanliness.

Toum (which means garlic in Lebanese) always has a line during lunch wherever they are. They blast out their location in the city via social media nearly everyday to keep their dedicated followers in the know if they are off the streets for an event. They are available for pretty much anything from private catered events to Ubereats to pop up lunches at the office. Just follow the crazy garlic man!

Keep Calm and Shawarma on!


Food Holidays: August

We all love a good excuse to celebrate and celebrations usually go hand-in-hand with food. So celebrating food holidays should be a no brainer!

no brainer gif.gif

 

Check out some ridiculous reasons to eat during the month of August and stay tuned for a monthly feature!


- August 2nd - National Ice Cream Sandwich Day -

Clearly we have a love for ice cream (who doesn't) and would like to think every day is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day but now there is an actual day dedicated to everyone's favorite frozen snack! Our favorites are The Tenny from Melt Bakery and The Good Witch from The Good Batch. Both have brick and mortar shops located in Manhattan and are also able to bring their pushcart into pretty much any venue for a fun addition to any event.

- 1st Saturday in August - National Mustard Day -

This is an obvious one for us since we have been partnering with the Public Art Fund all summer to bring you the Hot Dog Bus. See you every weekend until the end of August in Brooklyn Bridge Park for 'dogs smothered in mustard (and ketchup if that's your jam).

Image uploaded from iOS.jpg

- August 10th - National S'mores Day - 

It's hard to mess up the camping staple but if you happen to not have a fire pit and all fixin's then Glazed & Confused can help you out. They drizzle Marshmallow creme, chocolate sauce and crumbled graham crackers over their signature warm mini donuts in a mouthwatering combination. Bring us s'more.

 

- August 14th - National Creamsicle Day -

Another excuse to show off our incredible creamsicle inspired ice cream floats in partnership with Twitter. Unfortunately, you won't be able to find these on the streets any longer but request a custom menu from our culinary team and perhaps you can have this orange treat again!

- August 20th - National Bacon Lover's Day - 

This could be considered the Holy Grail of food holidays. If you had to dedicate an entire day to something, it better be bacon. Our vendors know what the people like so here are some of our favorite menu items that sizzle.

Mac Truck NYC's Applewood Smoke Bacon topped mac and cheese is one of their most popular menu items, especially at events!

Abeetz serves up everyone's favorite combo in pizza form and affectionately call the creation BAE - Bacon, Egg and Cheese, Mozzarella, Everything Spice Crust.

bacon.gif

Foodie Tips: Snacks!

giphy.gif

You know that feeling when hunger strikes and you must find a snack in order to survive the rest of your workday? Or when you're out and about being tour guide for your extended family who are in town for the weekend and Dad is getting hangry but your dinner reservation is in just a few hours? The solution: food truck snacks!

Snacks = bite sized, ideally handheld and unquestionably delicious morsels of goodness. Check out some of our favorite grab and go finger foods and ditch the fork!


You know Souvlaki GR for their Mykonos-inspired restaurants scattered around Manhattan but did you know they have a food truck too?! Bringing the authentic flavors of Greece to the streets of NYC, grab an order of hand-cut greek fries sprinkled with feta and oregano to tide you over on your walk home from the gym ;)

 

Big D's Grub Truck is known for just that, the grub. If you like your snacks to have dipabilty, the pork & chive dumplings are perfect for dunking in soy garlic, sriracha or ginger dipping sauces while trying to avoid that afternoon meeting. So sorry I'm late, there was a dumpling emergency! 

 

Sometimes, you just want literally 2 bites of something to satisfy your savory baked good craving. Served in two's, Toum's authentic Lebanese spinach pies are stuffed with spinach, onions and a special blend of lemony spices. How many bites does it take to get to the center of a spinach pie? Just one if you try real hard.

Speaking of bite sized, another notable snack comes from a local food truck celeb. Mac Truck's mac bites prove beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Wash down the cheesy bites with a giant lemonade for the ultimate summer combo.

Are you the type of person who eats their popcorn kernel by kernel or handful by handful? Either way, Brooklyn Popcorn has you covered no matter your eating style. The smell of freshly popped popcorn will lead you directly to this staple in the streets of the five boroughs. Or a circus, which isn't a bad option either.

And finally, the snack of all snacks. One snack to rule them all! The classic chips and guac. El Toro Rojo is a recent Vendy Award winner and for good reason! Their main menu includes authentic corn tortilla tacos with locally sourced ingredients but if you are in the mood for those crispy triangles, they come hot off the truck with a generous scoop of the green stuff. Guac is extra and so are we.

Happy snacking!


Eats in the Streets

You’ve seen our vendors out and about for NYFTA events and promotions but they are busy bees and can be found all over town! In addition to everyday street service, there are loads of other locations you can find your favorites. Check them out this summer if you dare to brave the heat at some of the city’s most popular neighborhood pop ups and street fests to get your eat on!


Broadway Bites is a food vendor pop up in Greeley Square that runs through certain dates in the summer and fall. Their lineup features a diverse mix of cuisines that includes NYFTA favorites Kimchi Taco and Melt Bakery. Stop by for a plate on your way to a game at MSG or a gourmet ice cream sandwich before your afternoon of shopping. 

You can find one of our most requested vendors serving up Korean fusion daily at Madison Square Eats. Korilla BBQ is a pop-up veteran at this point and also have several brick and mortar store fronts around the city in addition to their mobile catering operation. It's hard to NOT stumble upon those unmistakable tiger stripes.

Mr. Bing is also a part of the vendor list for Madison Square Eats but has recently taken up temporary residence at Times Square Market serving you Chinese street food. They are joined by other NYFTA favorites Wafles & Dinges (for something sweet) and Nuchas Empanadas (for something on-the-go). Check them all out at their stands on your way to a show!

Smorgasburg is always a huge hit every summer since it's brings together established vendors and new concepts alike to two incredible locations in Brooklyn. You can catch Red Hook Lobster, Bona Bona Ice Cream and The Good Batch at the waterfront location in Williamsburg every Saturday through October. New vendors are added every week! Rain or shine, the views and food are worth it.

We love seeing our members' businesses thrive outside of the event space. Keep up with these and more on their social media for the most up to date information on where to catch them throughout the summer. Check back with us for even more events and promotions!