The Vendys & FAQs

The Soriano family from Tacos El Rancho celebrates winning the Vendy Cup in 2016

The Soriano family from Tacos El Rancho celebrates winning the Vendy Cup in 2016

The Vendy Awards is an annual street food competition that determines the best street food vendors in New York City. We celebrate the excellent food available on our city's streets and the hard-working people who bring it to us each day - and who are usually (otherwise) given little acclaim or even respect. We celebrate vendors and their delicious contribution to our city.

Each year thousands of guests eagerly purchase tickets to sample food from publicly nominated vendors in various categories. The winners are chosen by attendees as well as a panel of celebrity judges that includes chefs, television personalities and city officials.

The Vendy Awards serves as a fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights while providing legal and small-business services. SVP is currently campaigning to get the city to remove the cap on food vending permits that has created huge barriers for vendors since it was put in place, at the urging of big businesses, in 1983.

How are the finalists chosen? 

We take public nominations to determine the very best vendors to compete against each other for street food glory. Sergey our computer intern makes sure there is funny business going on with the nominations.

What are the categories this year?

For our final year, we will celebrate our long-running history with the People’s All-Star Vendy Cup category. 15 vendors from the 14 years of Vendy Awards past will compete for the All-Star Vendy Cup, which will be voted on by event attendees. There will be two additional categories: Vendy Freshman, featuring vendors who’ve never competed, and Best Dessert. The winner of the Freshman category decided by a panel of expert judges.

What do I get for my price of admission?

For your admission to the Vendys, you will get to eat unlimited food from all 25 vendors in attendance, as well as unlimited beer, wine, soda and water from our sponsors. You'll get to enjoy a fabulous day on Governor's Island. Finally, your admission price will count as a tax-deductible contribution to the Street Vendor Project, which is part of the Urban Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The event is rain or shine, no refunds.

My company would like to sponsor the Vendy Awards. What should I do?

Now in its 15th year, the Vendy Awards has established itself as a classic event that brings out thousands of food-savvy guests and attracts local, national, and international media attention. We are actively looking for corporate sponsors, big and small, to partner with us to make this event a success. Please contact us at

Can I volunteer?

Maybe. The Vendys is an all-volunteer-run effort which is executed by a trusted Vendy Committee and a team of 200+ day-of volunteers who set up, serve drinks, clear trash, sell t-shirts, etc. Many volunteers return year after year, which leaves scarce room for new folks, but you can add your name to the list by filing out this form.

Why do vendors need an organization?

Because the city makes it very hard for these entrepreneurs, usually immigrants and people of color, to survive and thrive! The Street Vendor Project acts is a member-led advocacy organization that works every day to defend vendors' rights and expand their opportunity to make an honest living. To learn more about our work, please visit