Astoria has fewer street vendors than many other New York City neighborhoods, yet the tremendous quality of the vendors we do have, mixed with the near-riotous love we Astorians express for them, has created a perfect storm of rightful recognition on the Vendy Awards stage.
This year’s local entry into the coveted Vendy Cup race is our beloved El Rey Del Taco truck, and we couldn’t be prouder. Last year, King Souvlaki of Astoria was nominated for the prize, and famed multi-year winner King of Falafel will be competing this year for the Vendy Awards Master’s Cup.
El Rey Del Taco, one if the first places I fell in love with in Astoria has been a favorite of local taco aficionados and restaurant, bar, and Greek café-goers along 30th Avenue since it opened in 2006. They added a second location a few years later on Ditmars Boulevard, inspiring a good-natured, occasionally heated, and frequently hilarious local debate over which truck is better.
So the question that popped to my mind is: what inspires the great acclaim of Astoria’s small but mighty cadre of street vendors?
The first and most important thing is the vendors themselves. The tacos at El Rey del Taco truck are top notch (my favorite being the Al Pastor and the Salted Beef), the falafel at King of Falafel is the best and crispiest you’ll find roadside in New York City, and people literally drive hundreds of miles to park next to Souvlaki King and wolf down platters of Greek eats.
But I think an intangible factor of success is us Astorians. We vote with our feet, opting to gleefully stand on long lines for our street vendors. We shout their greatness to just about anyone who will listen face to face, and especially on social media. We get to know the vendors themselves, and they become like friends and family to us.
El Rey Del Taco, in particular, inspires a tremendous amount of love on Twitter, despite the fact that they have no Twitter account of their own (that I can locate). To honor their Vendy Cup nomination, below are a few Haiku praising our favorite local taco truck, El Rey Del Taco!
Check out this awesome video from the Vendy Awards and Food Curated about El Rey Del Taco’s path to a Vendy Award nomination!