According to a report in Crain's New York, not only is the rent too damn high, but the cost of running a food truck is, too. It takes a lot of taco sales (or waffle sales, slushie sales, etc.) to keep a food business running, whether it's on wheels or not, and just getting the permit can be prohibitively expensive. Despite the ever-increasing popularity of food trucks with the general public, the city still only allows 3,000 two-year permits for street-food vendors, 1,000 seasonal permits and 1,000 green carts. Of those permits, just 500 are issued to food trucks.
"The number hasn't changed since the '80s and there's still the same number of permits for New York that are in use," said Adam Sobel, who operates Cinnamon Snail, the city's first organic vegan food truck. Running a truck is a challenge in many ways, and permits problems are just one—Sobel cites parking competition as another major gripe. "Some of the parking spots we're been parking at for years have become really difficult to get a spot at. A lot of trucks will get there earlier than us and take ours."
There are new food trucks popping up, of course—the black market isn't exactly a secret, and a $200 permit can (and does) sell for a hundred times that. It's a big risk, though, and there's no real guarantee trucks will stick around since they're technically operating outside the law.
With all these issues, it's not surprising that some chefs who, a few years back, would have been tempted to get brand recognition by starting off on the street, are skipping that step altogether and looking for more traditional brick-and-mortar spaces instead. This, obviously, is a big shame for food-truck lovers: Whether it's looking out for Korilla BBQ's distinctive black and orange stripes in midtown or inhaling the sizzling batter scent wafting from Wafels & Dinges on Seventh Avenue, it's hard to imagine this city without the constant influx of new options, and we shudder to think of what we'd do if they vanished altogether. Here are five trucks we hope never drive off into the sunset.
Calexico is as artisanal as it gets. Favorites from the Cali-Mex–style truck include the Baja fish tacos, rice bowls and wet burritos—plus their signature crack sauce.
It's pretty hard to make a bad grilled cheese, but it's not easy to make a truly memorable once, and Milk Truck succeeds in that. The classic shouldn't be overlooked, but the bacon cheddar blue shouldn't, either.
Kimchi Taco Truck's Korean fusion fare is a revelation. From enormous burritos and the sides of Korean-rice gnocchi to the short-rib tacos and tofu edamame falafel bowl, it never disappoints. (The spice factor ranks high, too.)
It's too easy to mock Van Leeuwen's adorably old-fashioned truck, but fortunately the artisanal flavors are the perfect distraction (currants and cream! palm sugar!), and its near-perfect cone speaks for itself.
Kelvin's award-winning, well-praised slush lives up to the hype. In addition to his mix-you-own fruit flavors, this summer, look for Kelvin's floats made with Blue Marble ice cream.
Blu on Park
While New York's steakhouse stalwarts (Keens, Peter Luger) remain staunchly true to their original forms, today's newer meat meccas have redefined the boundaries of the genre. From glitzy extravagance (and Bieber appearances) at Bowery Meat Company to laidback fun (and $19 cuts) at Quality Eats, it's clear there's no one way to cut that cake. For their take on the trope, European proprietors Emir Muhic and Gigi Dzidzovic (DiWine) adopt the meet-in-the-middle approach, taking over the first three floors of a renovated 1920s-era brownstone with a contemporary-minded restaurant that also channels the building's old-time grace with gray-stained wood panels, sleek marble counters and a working fireplace. In the 132-seat space, diners can settle elegant Windsor-style chairs for an array of traditional and creative starters, as well as seven cuts of steak—all tag-teamed by co-chefs Russell Rosenberg (the Boathouse) and Dusan Celic (DiWine). A crab cake ($22), garnished with marinated jicama, apple salad and remoulade was wonderful—you’ll fight over the last bite. The jumbo shrimp cocktail ($18) featured plump, finger-long crustaceans served over ice, the cocktail sauce fiery from just enough horseradish. Of course, if you’re at a steakhouse, you’re going to go for the beef (why bother if not?). A gargantuan ribeye ($49) arrives at the table still sizzling, flanked by béarnaise and peppercorn sauces. The well-seasoned cut is perfectly cooked, so the sauces are gilding the lily. Yo
Venue says: “Join us for Happy Hour Mon-Sun 4pm-8pm, Oysters $1.5, Draft Beer $6, Well Drinks $8, House Wines $8, and Cocktail of the Day $10”