You can find one of our famous street carts at 50th Street between 6th and 7th Ave.
"When in New York City, street food served by street vendors from their carts seems to be quite popular. And one of the best types of street food that you can get in New York City is real spicy chili made just the way Texas cooks like 'em - sold by Daisy May's Chili Cart..."Read the full article from Top Restaurants New York.
"Having a cart on the sidewalk is about as entry-level a place in the city's noncriminal economy as you can get. Low overhead, nothing but foot traffic, and, well, even in the depths of a recession, people have to eat lunch. Streetcart peddling was once such an assured lowest-common-denominator source of income in New York that the state guaranteed street-vending permits to soldiers returning from the Civil War. Today, for Adam Perry Lang, a 34-year-old Daniel Boulud–trained chef, it's not an easy business to break into. The city issues only 3,000 "mobile food vending" permits. Like taxi medallions, their intrinsic value has inspired a shadow economy where, vendors say, the city's prohibition against subletting permits is often ignored. Even if an enterprising sort manages to land a permit, wrangling a legal, busy spot is next to impossible—much less nine of them, as Lang plans to have for his Daisy May's BBQ USA carts by the end of summer. Many streets are off-limits, and pride of place on the legal ones is hotly contested: To keep the peace, you can't sell what the guy next to you sells, and you might need to delicately negotiate some kind of turf-sharing arrangement. There's a coffee cart that occupies Lang's space at 40 Wall Street in the morning. It pulls out around 10:30, just in time for Daisy May's to dock for the lunch crowd.
Lang, an immigrant from Le Cirque, is competing with vendors who have been defending their spot for more than a decade. Still, by the end of the summer, he'll have quadrupled his investment in the street market—rolling out a wagon train of five new chili-and-barbecue carts to add to the four he's set up since February. "It's a hassle," he says, pausing to look up Eleventh Avenue, where Daisy May's is located. "It's a game. You have to respect your neighbors, people who've been out there ten, twenty years. I don't enjoy the fight. You only fight if you have to." He has a cart on 50th Street and Sixth Avenue, where nine other vendors sell everything from tacos to gyros, fruit to nuts. Most sell soda, so the only drink on Lang's menu is his fresh-brewed iced tea. "And you sure don't sell hot dogs. What are you going to do, just yell ‘Get yer hot dogs here!' louder than the guy next to you?"
In any case, the hot dog is not the street food of the future. With a competitive price freeze on frankfurters, there's a quest for new, higher-margin foods. "It's still $1, $1.50 for a hot dog," says Lang's cart manager, Jeffrey Cicio. "Right now, the only guys doing really well are some of the guys selling chicken over rice." It's a high-margin dish that also carries the whiff of being healthy. "Hot dogs aren't cheap. They used to be 18 cents each, but now they're 42. And you still sell it for $2 with soda." Cicio says that the $300 daily take hasn't changed since the late 1980s.
Lang's goal isn't an immigrant's day wage, though. In an industry plagued with failure, carts are a lower-cost way to food-service success. With a restaurant, Lang says, "there's no way to open up five, six locations after being in business for one year. You have to think about cash flow." Plus, "I wanted a product that was recession-proof." But what he has to peddle is still not a bargain, exactly. At $8 a pulled-pork sandwich, he says, "I knew I had the highest-ticket items out there." And he isn't afraid to use the word artisanal to describe ingredients..." Read the full article from New York Magazine.