Why Are Two NoVa Trucks in the Curbside Cookoff?

You may have already heard that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs announced the 20 food vendors who will take part in the inaugural Curbside Cookoff on Oct. 7 and 8 at CityCenterDC. The list is heavy on the newbie trucks that have generated so much controversy, but two vendors in particular stick out like tourists in downtown D.C.

Both Rebel Heroes and District Taco are Northern Virginia street-food operators. How’d they sneak into a cookoff co-hosted by DCRA?

Sam Williams, vending coordinator for DCRA, says the NoVa vendors’ inclusion is simply to “highlight carts not in the District that are trying to get a license here.” For example, Williams notes that District Taco, the terrific Yucatan-influenced vendor in Arlington, can’t secure a license in the city after which it takes its name. Why? Because District Taco is a food cart, not a truck, and cart licenses can’t be issued until the new regulations are passed.

As for Rebel Heroes, Williams says that he’s been working with the owners to license the popular truck in the District. He expects Rebel Heroes to be licensed by the time of the Curbside Cook-Off. This means, of course, that El Floridano will soon have competition in the rolling banh mi market.

No one, it seems, has heard of BBQ Bandidos, one of the 20 winners. But Williams is looking into it. Or he will once he’s out of the hospital. The DCRA official broke his leg Sunday during his usual soccer game. He says it’s bad. “I’m going to be out of commission,” he says.

More than 4,800 ballots were cast in the contest. Here are the 20 winning vendors:

Red Hook Lobster Truck
DC Slices
District Taco
Eat Wonky
BBQ Bandidos
Yellow Cart
Pedro and Vinny’s Burrito Cart
Curbside Cupcakes
DC Empanadas
Eat Sauca
El Floridano
Fojol Bros.
Food Chain DC
Fry Captain
Yellow Truck
Pleasant Pops
Rebel Heroes
Sweet Bites
Sweetflow Mobile

Why Are Two NoVa Food Vendors Participating in the Inaugural Curbside Cook-Off? was originally published by Washington City Paper on Sep 27, 2010.

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