Thursday, July 7, 2011

Small Vendors Vying for SF Street Food Festival Prize

This is Part 1 of our feature on small vendors competing for the Third Annual San Francisco Street Food Festival prize. You can find Part 2 here.

With the 2011 San Francisco Street Food Festival, presented by La Cocina, coming up on August 20, event organizers have opened the public voting to add a few of the Bay Area's local food carts and trucks to the list of vendors who will be selling to attendees. The voting, which began this week, will give the top four vote getters in the competition free commercial kitchen space at La Cocina, shared booth space at the festival and Small Business Assistance from Wells Fargo Advisers.

Being the street food fanatics that we are, we think it's great to see the public have a say in who will help represent the San Francisco Bay Area at the preeminent showcase for mobile cuisine. And while we have nothing but love for the food from the Bay Area's established mobile purveyors, it's our opinion that this opportunity is custom made for smaller vendors who could really use the financial assistance and public visibility.

"It is a great form of marketing as I have not yet been able to get through the process of obtaining a cart in San Francisco," Elisa Garibay of Ooh La La Lumpia said. Garibay, the owner of the San Francisco startup, wants to spread her pork lumpia to the world. "My mother's best friend taught her how to make it when they were in high school and when I was older my mother taught me. People love the taste—crispy, flavorful, and light."

Mariebeth Arca, owner of two bites, wants to show people that quiche can definitely be street food. "We are sardines in the Pacific Ocean compared to these big name food vendors that have been out for years. La Cocina thrives on helping entrepreneurs, and this would be a way they would be helping us." Her business, which gets its name from the fact that the quiches are so small they are eaten without utensils, puts a fresh spin on the traditional quiche. "We kick it up a notch and add straight from the Mission District Mexican chorizo, Italian sausage from a local butcher shop, sun dried tomatoes or pesto sauce."

Ooh La La Lumpia and two bites are just two examples of the Bay Area's rapidly growing street food scene, incubated in outlets like the Underground Farmers Market and New Taste Marketplace, who are ready to go big.

"Assistance from Wells Fargo would mean I could get out there selling faster and introduce my company and food to the community," Garibay said. Judging by the response in the polls so far, it looks like she has some support for that vision, too. At the time of this writing, Ooh La La Lumpia has 74 votes, placing it in second place among all participants, though the voting has swung wildly.

"It is unfortunate how hard it is for street vendors to get off the ground," two bites' Arca said. "It's not that we don't want to follow the rules, it's because most of us cannot afford it. All we are trying to do is live out our dreams."

Voting ends July 28th and uses Facebook's social plugin to record tallies. So cast your vote and help make San Francisco's street food future a reality!

San Francisco Street Food Festival (@streetfoodsf)
Ooh La La Lumpia (@oohlalalumpia)
two bites (@twobites2)

1 comment:

  1. We over at Frozen Kuhsterd just enter. Vote n support! Http://www.frozenkuhsterd.com. We'll be at the next New Taste Market on July 16th from 12-5pm. Maybe some traditional vanilla frozen custard and some Italian Ice.

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