Danya Henninger, ImagicDigital.com
For years, the idea of ordering lunch or a snack from a Philadelphia food cart meant limp hot dogs, doughy hot pretzels, or sad cheesesteaks. But no longer! The food truck revolution has swept our city and is here to stay. You’ll see the evidence in the beautifully decorated, shiny trucks parked across town selling all kinds of creative sandwiches, Asian-inspired buns, artisanal coffee, sweet treats, and more.
On Saturday, June 8th, the 3rd Annual Vendy Awards were held to pit the best of the best new wave of food trucks/carts against one in another in a battle for the Vendy Cup, and to raise funds for The Food Trust. Against a serene backdrop of the Delaware River in Fishtown’s Penn Treaty Park, a dozen food trucks circled up and dished out hundreds of samples of their best stuff to hungry event-goers. Cold cans of beer from Brooklyn Brewery helped keep everyone refreshed between bites of gourmet street food.
Savory snacks and sweets were both represented. Chewy’s, a comfort food truck, served up pork sliders and fried chicken and waffles. Poi Dog, a new Hawaiian food truck, offered a refreshing tofu poke salad, Spam misubi, and delicious little pork belly tacos, al pastor style. All afternoon, a long line snaked toward The Cow and The Curd truck for deep fried cheese curds with spicy dipping sauces.
Though many claim that the cupcake’s moment is over, there were not one, but three cupcake trucks competing for best sweet truck, along with the inspired cocktail-flavored macarons from Sugar Truck, and gourmet popsicles from Lil Pop Shop - green tea with mochi was particularly refreshing on the warm afternoon).
Guest cast their votes, along with the panel of judges (who included Paul Kimport - chef/co-owner of Johnny Brenda’s and co-owner of Standard Tap, Emilio Mignucci, third generation owner of Philadelphia's iconic Di Bruno Bros, Lauren Purcell, the Editor-in-Chief, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Andrew Gerson, a Philly native and Executive Chef for Brooklyn Brewery).The big winners of the day were the King of Falafel cart, taking home “Best Street Vendor,” The Cow and the Curd won “People’s Taste” and Tide’s “Messy Yet Tasty.” For the second year running, Lil’ Pop Shop won best dessert. Hopefully, this level of recognition will drum up even more business for these hardworking culinary professionals, and encourage food truck dreamers to take the plunge and open up mobile kitchens of their own.