Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vendy winners come out smokin'

The Smoke Truck wows the judges at the second annual food-truck competition.

Vendy winners come out smokin'


The Smoke Truck - featuring the BBQ prowess of Mississippian Mark A. Coates backed by Chris Martino - impressed the judges and was named victor of the Vendy Cup at the second annual Vendy Awards on Saturday at the lot at 39th and Market Streets.

People’s Choice winner was Vernalicious - Verna Swerdlow and David Jurkofsky's comfort-fooder - and Best Dessert honors went to Lil’ Pop Shop - Jeanne Chang and Vince Tseng's popsicle company

The Vendy Awards are an annual event organized by the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center, a membership-based organization of more than 1,300 vendors. The Vendys were a fundraiser for The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that strives to make healthy food available to all.

The winners of both the 2011 and 2012 Philadelphia Vendy Awards will roll into Eakins Oval on Thursday, Aug. 2 for the Winners’ Oval Event. Besides Saturday's winners, the 2011 Vendy Award winners - Sweet Box, GiGi & Big R’s and Cucina Zapata - will sell food from 6 to 9 p.m.; it's pay as you go.

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This year's Vendy field was:

The Smoke Truck, which features barbecue by Mark Coates, who briefly operated the bricks-and-mortar restaurant Bebe's Barbecue in South Philadelphia.

Vernalicious, whose owners Verna Swerdlow and David Jurkofsky prepare eclectic comfort foods such as grilled cheese and banh mi; it's been on the road for less than a year.

The Foo Truck, whose specialty is Asian street food such as pork belly, braised meatballs, and lemongrass chicken (no relation to Susanna Foo).

Delicias, run by two Venezuela-born arepa and empanada specialists on the 3400 block of Market Street.

Yumtown, a seasonal operation - normally found at Temple University - whose locavore approach might be dubbed "farm to steering wheel." Among the selections are meat loaf sandwiches, soups, and empanadas.

Tacos Don Memo, a Penn campus veteran whose fish tacos draw lines stretching down 38th Street.

Lil Dan's Gourmet, an Italian-inspired truck - mostly sandwiches - that shifts between Drexel's campus and LOVE Park.

Little Baby's Ice Cream, the upstart dessertery that will open a Fishtown storefront in August.

Lil' Pop Shop, the West Philadelphia popsicle specialist whose farmer's market stands qualify it as a mobile operation.

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Michael Klein
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