Charge Ahead With El Toro Rojo

            Lavish, hearty, picturesque and mouthwatering—El Toro Rojo’s generously-sized taco platters embody everything the New York Food Truck Association looks for in street food. Every plate offers unique and tantalizing Oaxacan flavors. The plates are a marvel to look at. Each dish is portioned perfectly with an array of fresh, colorful ingredients and sauces. Pillowy quesadilias with sour cream and cheese! Fajita Bowls with a vibrant blend of peppers, beans, and rice! We at NYFTA know that life-affirming sense of joy when you walk away from a taco truck with a gorgeous heap of food and know immediately that what you are about to eat was not only affordable, but is about to strike your taste buds like lightning.

The truck is managed by Gabriel Apreza and his son Denis. They offer a no-frills, no-nonsense approach to Mexican street food: serve the people consistently with rich, authentic food; stay true to your recipe, hold fast to your roots.

The approach works. El Toro Rojo’s sleek black truck, emblazoned with a striking logo of a bull outlined in fiery red, can often be found parked on different corners and streets in Midtown. Droves of office workers, businesswomen and men, interns—the very people who grease the wheels of New York City’s unstoppable machinery—line up at lunchtime nearly every day for another chance to liberate themselves with El Toro Rojo’s delicious nachos, burritos, and sopes.

The bull is a symbol of strength. They are bold, tough—they can overtake you by surprise. We at NYFTA find it fitting that one of the best taco trucks in town is named after such a vigorous, majestic animal. We also believe that, much like the bull, Gabriel and Denis Apreza’s business will endure and continue to be as robust as ever.

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association @NYFTA

 

Great Steaks at Gary's Steaks

The intoxicating scent of gooey melting cheese, dancing on the grill with sizzling steak, this is what lunch is all about. Gary’s steak serves up authentic Philadelphia style cheesesteaks, and made to order Hoagies right here on the streets of New York City.  To stay true to their Philly roots, every fresh ingredient comes straight from Philadelphia to you. With warm fresh Italian rolls from Phillies famous Amoroso Bakery to start, the freshest rib-eye, chicken, and sirloin, all grilled up and cooked to order with freshly sweet or hot peppers to bring it all home. Oh and of course it wouldn’t be a cheesesteak without, you guessed it, the cheese.

But hey they know their audience; this is New York after all, the land of dietary restrictions, so they have veggie options too. Finally a truck where carnivores and herbivores can come together and enjoy the best that Philly has to offer. Whether it’s the classic steak you’re craving, some fresh chicken, or veggies, they’ve got something sizzling hot on the grill just for you.  Buffalo chicken cutlet, mushroom steak, pizza steak, and even a falafel hoagie, these guys have mastered the cheesesteak in every form.

So the next time you need some sizzling steaks, freakin’ awesome falafel, and lots and lots o’ whizz, look no further than Gary’s Steaks – all around Manhattan and Brooklyn during lunchtime, and always a click away for your next event.

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association @NYFTA

 

Glazed and Confused

Some say the best things in life are free, others say the best things in life are donuts, now we’re going to let you believe whatever you want but after a visit to our newest NYFTA member Glazed and Confused, we’re sold on the latter. There are a lot of machines out on the streets of New York City, from cranes, to bulldozers, and all those other loud whirling thingamabobs that keep us up at night, but there’s a new machine in town and quite frankly it’s our favorite.  We’re talking about the mini donut machine, that’s right, a little machine that births perfect mini donuts.

 

So with the birth of these spectacular mini donuts, came the birth of our new friends Glazed and Confused. Dan and Larry first got started with their mini donuts in California, selling their irresistible mini masterpieces at fairs and parties. They were a hit, with the growing popularity of their new fried babies they headed east to New York City, if you can make mini donuts there you can make it anywhere.

With their wide array of anything-but-typical flavors like Bavarian cream, s’mores, or “The Hangover” featuring maple syrup and bacon, they have something for everyone. They’ve even mastered the boozy donut for the 21+ crowd. Of course you can’t stop at just one, but hey the best thing about mini donuts is that you can eat more of them! Did someone say pulled pork donuts… mmmm.

With their new truck, you can get fresh and made to order mini donuts pulling right up to your next event, sure to leave all your guests glazed and confused.  

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA @NYFTA.

You don't need to travel far for los viajeros

Sometimes we get the noms, actually as you’ve probably noticed by now we always have the noms. Lucky for us (and you) our newest NYFTA fam member has all the noms.

Die-hard foodie travelers turned food truck owners Caitlyn and Carlos have been serving their Latin inspired dishes all over New York city since 2015. Their mobile kitchen Los Viajeros (which translates from Spanish to “The Travelers”) offers flavors inspired by their travels. With Cuban, Dominican and Mexican inspired dishes, you can taste their passion for food and travel right here on the island of Manhattan.

They may be famous for their tacos, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Their signature “El Jeffe” burrito is a delicious blend Cuban style steak, sweet plantains, and chipotle aioli all rolled up into one. Think of it like your own little Latin vacation right in your hands.

The Vendy award nominated food truck can usually be found around Flatiron, or Bryant Park, and uptown on Dyckman during summer. Just keep you’re eyes pealed for the bright purple truck with the big mural on it, though it’s likely you will smell it before you see it. Of course you can bring the Latin flare of Los Viajeros straight to your next event, their always just a click away on our website. 

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA @NYFTA.

Bonabonappetit

Like a modern day Willy Wonka chef Nick Di Bona has been whipping up uber unique ‘chef driven’ ice cream recipes, and showing them off all around NYC.

His creative new breed of ice cream, with the delicious high fat content of traditional American ice cream, but without the air and without the eggs like an Italian gelato — the result is refreshing, mouthwatering, and quite frankly we need another scoop.

Photo from Bona Bona Ice Cream

Photo from Bona Bona Ice Cream

Winner of Food Networks “Chopped” Di Bona has joined us as the newest member of the NYFTA with Bona Bona Ice Cream. Currently being sold all around the tri-state area, and out of his mobile ice cream factory the Bona Bona 1 is out on the streets of NYC, fighting boring ice cream one recipe at a time. The ever-growing list of imaginative flavors ranging from the fresh and fruity Ripe Strawberry, to the downright delectable B Dough (that’s brownie cookie dough.) Everything is made fresh from scratch, with the finest market fresh ingredients, like his homemade mint chocolate chip with natural mint, rainbow sprinkles, and torched marshmallow fluff for dramatic effect.

But wait that’s not all, you can bring all of the smooth creamy summer goodness of Bona Bona straight to you. Di Bona’s truck makes house calls (yay!) Get him over to your backyard, farm, parking lot etc. foryour next office party, block party, summer bash, or if you’re just really feeling like one tub ofValrhona Chocolate won’t due the trick and you need the whole truck. (It happens).

 Bonabonappetit!

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA @NYFTA.

The Vendy's are Coming - Coney Shack

They're coming quick, the Vendy awards are right around the corner. To prepare, as promised we are going to highlight some past winners to take home the gold! With yes another successful #tacotuesday behind us, it being the middle of Summer, and that spicy flame still burning our tongues it’s only natural that Coney Shack pops right up in our thoughts.

It’s fusion, it’s tacos, it’s beer battered fish, and since it’s Coney Island they also do hot dogs – Coney Shack is a crowd favorite in just about every category. Their menu includes but is not limited to: Vietnamese marinated beef, carmelized garlic pork, and beer battered crunchy fish tacos. But wait do you need a grilled cheese with your taco? Say no more fam, the Coney Shack special is on it’s way, stuffed with pork cilantro and shack sauce. But if it’s the holy trinity you’re after (like we are) it won’t stop there, one Chicka Dog please! (Beef frank, garlic lemon, pickled daikon carrots, lemon grass aioli, and toasted sesame.

Photo Via. Life is a Rollercoaster lifeisarollercoaster.org

Photo Via. Life is a Rollercoaster lifeisarollercoaster.org

 Lucky for us we don’t have to go all the way out to Coney Island to get our fusion fix. They’re totally mobile kitchen that travels to you, bringing the beach vibes right to the streets of Manhattan. Don’t get us wrong, we’re always down for a trip to the beach, but it’s nice to be able to get our Chicka Dog without the hour train ride, the sand in our pants, and while bypassing the mermaid parade. (Sorry Mermaids.)

Photo Via. Life is a Rollercoaster lifeisarollercoaster.org

Photo Via. Life is a Rollercoaster lifeisarollercoaster.org

Unlike Coney Island, it’s historic namesake, which was settled sometime in the 17th century (that’s like, a really long time ago). Coney Shack is a bit of a newcomer, but don’t call them noobs. Taking home the Rookie of the Year Vendy in 2015, Coney Shack was instantly thrust into the big time, now with multiple trucks all around the city. Of course when you’re ready to hit the beach, the OG shack will be waiting for you, along with lots of shack sauce!

Stay in the loop with what's happening at the Vendy's at vendyawards.org See you at Governers Island September 16th!

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA@NYFTA.

Top Events to have a Food Truck at this Summer

It’s finally here! We go all year waiting for Summer to come, when we can take to the streets, and chow on our eats. It doesn’t get any better than summertime in the food truck world! Everywhere you turn there’s something happening, and every happening commemorated with scrumptious food. So weather you’ve got wedding bells ringing, or you prefer the sound of bass dropping, or even just the click clack of a keyboard you’re going to have a lot happening this summer, and you’re going to be hungry. Here’s a list of the best events to book a food truck for this summer, remember the best eats in NYC are always just a click away.

Block Party

New York City is all about community and there’s few ways better to build community than over food. When it comes time for your blocks annual bash, make sure you’ve got something good cooking.

Wedding

You can spend thousands of dollars on flowers, decorations, dresses and all the other accouterments to make a perfect day, but if your guests aren’tchowing down on some bomb Korean BBQ tacos, will any of that have mattered at all ?

Music Festival

Outdoor music and sunshine are great, but outdoor music, sunshine, and food are really where it’s at. Don’t let your festival attendees get hangry!

Office Party

When it’s time to boost moral, don’t settle for another boring office pizza party. We have an array of unique tasty food trucks to bring the office back to life. Even the most hardened CEO will be feeling like a kid again lining up at the truck for some good eats.

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA@NYFTA.

 

 

Make Your Brand Delicious

It’s been said time and time again that the best way to man’s heart is through his stomach, and quite frankly it’s true. However this handy saying is not exclusive to just men, it also applies to your customers. There are so many ways for brands to reach their audiences nowadays. Through the email, social media, billboard, magazines, you name it. But if you really want your brand to leave a good taste in their mouths you are going to need something, well, tasty.

Branded promotions are a fun, effective, and downright delicious way to get your brand in front of an audience. Whether you just want to have a small cart at a party boasting your logo with a side of fries, or you need an entire fleet of food trucks roaming the city gaining the attention hungry of customers, investors, and influencers we are here to help.

What exactly is branded promotion? Well long story short, it’s taking some of our favorite mobile kitchens and having them work for you. Wrapping an entire taco truck with your logo and likeness and passing out memorable tasty goodness all around the city.

Recently we teamed up with A&E and Katz’s Deli to promote their new fall lineup. Recruiting a small army of sandwich trucks and decking them out head to toe in A&E. Teams went all around New York City passing out Katz’s famous and oh so scrumptious sandwiches to hungry TV fans. Stirring up buzz on the streets that turns into buzz online, (because who can resist instagraming their food?)

So if you’re ready to get your brand out on the streets, and into the tummies of your hungry audience, your friends at the NYFTA are always just a click away.

- Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA @NYFTA.

 

Letter Grades Coming to NYC Food Trucks

Last month, the City Council Health Committee voted unanimously passing a new bill requiring food carts and trucks to post letter grades, just like New York City brick-and-mortar restaurants. With mobile kitchens growing in popularity, and popping up all over the city, it’s no wonder that the city is treating them just like the city’s restaurants we know and love!

Photo credit: Van Leeuwen

Photo credit: Van Leeuwen

 We are supportive of our favorite mobile chefs and their kitchens being regulated on par with their brick-and-mortar counterparts, legitimizing and adding credibility to their businesses. However, what seems like a great stride towards equating the way brick-and-mortar and mobile kitchens are run and regulated is actually just a baby step in establishing the same food safety standards for restaurants and mobile vendors.

 The disproportionate regulatory environment when hiring employees is the number one impediment to the continued growth and sustainability of the food truck industry in NYC.

 While it’s pretty simple for restaurants to continuously hire and replace workers in their kitchens, but the process is surprisingly not as straightforward for mobile vendors.

 Requirements to work in a restaurant kitchen or front of house:

NONE, one person on-site must have completed the Food Protection Test after studying online

 Requirements to work on a food truck:

  1. Every single person including the driver must pass the Food Protection Course for Mobile Vendors(2 full days in an inconvenient location)

  2. File for a Sales Tax Authority to obtain a Sales Tax ID

Photo credit: Associated Press

Photo credit: Associated Press

 A sales tax ID allows individuals to collect sales tax and submit it to New York State. Filing and receiving your sales tax ID takes a minimum of three weeks. We completely understand why this would be required for business owners, but why should a food truck cashier need this when a cashier in a brick and mortar does not? It's another layer that prevents people from wanting to work for food trucks especially in an industry which has a high turn-over.

Unlike the restaurant’s Food Protection Course (online course, takes <1 hr), the Food Protection Course for mobile vendors is long, taking 2 days, 8 hours each day. The whole process takes a lot of time, discouraging potential employees from working on a food truck or cart.

When it comes to food truck letter grades, the NYFTA is in full support of anything that will improve customer satisfaction and food safety, but we also want to make sure that the needs of the food truck owners are addressed when it comes to parity of regulations with restaurants.

 Food truck employees should be subjected to the same rules and regulations as their counterparts in brick-and-mortar locations and not have to deal with rules that are prohibitive and make running a successful Food Truck business in New York almost impossible.

So with many potentially employable people opting for work that require little to no safety verification, it becomes difficult and expensive for mobile chefs to find staff.

Ben Goldberg
Founder of the New York Food Truck Association
nyfta.org

 

 

The 2017 Vendy Awards Are Near!

Well it’s finally here and we’re so excited, award season! Oh what’s that you thought award season was over? Sorry you must be mistaken. With all the drama and chaos of the Oscars and such finally behind us, it’s time to dish out awards for the stuff we really care about – the stuff we eat! The Vendy Awards are back for their 13th year and we’re feeling lucky.

The Vendy’s were the first street food competition in the US when they started way back in the day. Originally started to fundraise for the Street Vendor Project the Vendy’s continue to offer business support for New York City’s local street vendors. Everything from legal aid to advocacy, the Vendy’s are as tasty as they are for a cause.

Categories include best dessert, best market, rookie, and the coveted Vendy Cup.  New this year, they’ve added best vegan for the less carnivorous consumers. Past winners have included cuisines form every corner of New Yorks bustling street food scene, and you know that means lots of NYFTA members! Some of our favorite vendors who have taken away the prize include The Good Batch, Nuchas, Lukes Lobster, Phil’s Steaks, Souvlaki GR and Korilla BBQ. (Are you hungry yet?)

Tickets go on sale today for the event, held on Governors Island at the end of Summer.  Tickets mean all you can eat at the event, so get out your stretchy pants and meet us on the island! Check out vendyawards.org for more info – and stay tuned as we gear up for the big day.

 - Your friends at the New York Food Truck Association

PS: LOVE food trucks? Share your favorite #foodtrucklunch on instagram & tag #NYFTA @NYFTA.