NYC: City’s Top Food Vendors Offer Tasty Trip Through Central Park

Derek Hunt (left), and Gina Ojile, owners of Cake & Shake

By Amy Zimmer | DNAinfo News Editor

Derek Hunt (left), and Gina Ojile, owners of Cake & Shake

MANHATTAN — Seventeen of the city’s top gourmet vendors who feed foodies across the city’s parks will be showing off their culinary prowess during Wednesday’s “Taste of Parks” event at Central Park’s Arsenal.

The event will feature the likes of Rouge Tomate, the elegant restaurant at 10 E. 60th St. with a Michelin star, as well as newbies including Desi Food Truck and Pullcart.

There will also be appearances by other street food faves, such as Vendy winners Wafels and Dinges, which sells Belgium waffles from cart near the Central Park Zoo, and the New York Dosa Cart, which is legendary for its vegan dosas at Washington Square Park.

Rouge Tomate’s executive chef Jeremy Bearman will reportedly stock the menu with seasonal ingredients for its cart at the entrance to Central Park along Fifth Avenue and 64th Street, using local bacon and heirloom tomatoes on BLTs, for instance.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and Food Vendors Committee of Red Hook Park Executive Director, Cesar Fuentes, will be on hand to welcome the 17 participating vendors.

Since 2008, the Parks Department has stepped up efforts to get a diverse array of high quality and healthy food vendors, city officials said.

As licenses expire, the Parks Department is slowly replacing some of the roughly 55 hot dog carts in and around Central Park with a new breed of vendors that have elicited a dedicated following among foodie blogs such as Midtown Lunch and New York Street Food.

“This is our opportunity to offer the public alternative choices when visiting our parks,” Glenn Kaalund, a Parks Department project manager told members of the Upper East Side’s Community Board 8 Parks Committee this winter.

Some community board members, however, don’t appreciate the move toward food carts, saying the gourmet trucks are visually and environmentally polluting the park.

“I find the mixture of design lacking tranquility,” Barbara Rudder, co-chair of CB8’s Parks Committee, had said of the newfangled carts in front of the museum. “[They’re] noisy, smelly, very large. The [hot dog] carts blended in somehow.”

Taste of Parks’ specialty food vendors at the Arsenal in Central Park, 830 Fifth Ave. at 64th St., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.