Street-corner food carts and their bigger siblings, food trucks, are synonymous with the city. There’s a new aroma at every intersection: Pungent roasted chestnuts, dirty water dogs simmering in cisterns, yeasty pretzels, halal chicken or lamb piled into a gyro. Harried New Yorkers like to eat on the run.
New York City is one of the world’s great restaurant cities, and food vendors are stitched into its fabric. Because of them, people can find something to eat on every corner, in every borough. And even if you’re just visiting New York for a day, you’ve probably stopped by a push cart or a food truck for some shawarma or a slice of pizza bigger than your head.
Until 1980, the city capped the number of food trucks and carts at 3,000. Since then, according to NYC Food Policy, the New York City Department of Health has issued over 5,000 permits to food trucks and carts. But who are the New Yorkers who run those mobile restaurants? And what do they do for dinner? These are the questions our NY Table reporters wanted to answer. We’ve collected stories from every borough — the son of a second-generation hot-dog truck owner who recently took over the family business in Staten Island, the proprietor of an Italian pastry shop in the Bronx’s Little Italy, a cheesemonger in Brooklyn who also works as a full-time lawyer, and more.
These are the people who feed the millions of locals and tourists every hour of the day and night, every day of the week. In this series, you’ll find out where they go for a meal. When they’ve parked the truck and shuttered the windows, when they’ve served their last slice of pizza and clocked out, they figure out what they’re going to eat. This is New York Sits Down to Dinner.