The Vendy Awards is an annual street food competition series that determines the “best of the best” in street food. Each year thousands of guests eagerly purchase tickets to sample food from publicly nominated vendors. The winners are chosen by event ticket holders as well as a panel of celebrity judges that includes chefs, television personalities and city officials.

Since 2005, the Vendy Awards has spread from a small garage in the East Village to some of New York City’s largest open spaces as well as other destinations across the United States, including Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

The Vendy Awards also serves as a fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project, a membership-based non-profit organization that stands up for vendors’ rights. The Street Vendor Project’s most recent campaign resulted in lowered fines for non health-related infractions, such as having a cart or stand too close to a curb or street.

How are the finalists chosen? 

Simple enough. We’ll take public nominations to determine which lucky vendors will compete against each other for street food glory. People like you can suggest your favorite street food vendors though an online nomination process. Let us know who is Vendy-worthy – nominate your favorite vendor here!

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

Now in its 12th year, the Vendy Awards has established itself as a classic event that brings out hundreds 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 vendyawards@gmail.com or (347) 644-8363.

Why do vendors need an organization?

There are more than 10,000 street vendors in New York City — hot dog vendors, book vendors, street artists, and many others. They’re small business people struggling to make ends meet by working long hours in often harsh conditions.  Most street vendors are immigrants and people of color and often face discrimination though unjust legislation supported by established business interests. In recent years, vendors have become victims of New York’s aggressive “quality of life” crackdown. Denied access to vending licenses, they receive $1,000 tickets for minor violations like vending too close to a crosswalk — more than any big business is required to pay for similar violations.

The Street Vendor Project is a membership-based project with more than 1800 active vendor members who are working together to create a vendors’ movement for permanent change. We reach out to vendors in the streets and storage garages and teach them about their legal rights and responsibilities. We hold meetings where we plan collective actions for getting our voices heard. We publish reports and file lawsuits to raise public awareness about vendors and the enormous contribution they make to our city. Finally, we help vendors grow their businesses by linking them with small business training and loans.

The Street Vendor Project is part of the Urban Justice Center, a local non-profit organization that provides legal representation and advocacy to various marginalized groups. The Street Vendor Project is funded through member dues, a few private foundations, and generous individuals like you. Join our list of supporters.