September 18, 2014 // Franchising.com // New York, NY – Calexico, the New York-based Mexican food favorite that took home the prestigious Vendy Award in 2008, competed again this year in a special Masters Cup for previous winners, taking home top honors once again.
The Vendy Awards were started 10 years ago by the Street Vendor Project, to raise money and support for New York City’s street food industry. Referred to as the ‘Academy Awards of Street Food’, it consists of an intense cookout competition open to the public, ultimately naming one top winner each year. Typically the rule is that once you’ve won you are barred from competing in future competitions, however to honor their 10th anniversary the Vendys decided to hold a special Masters Cup among notable past winners.
Calexico, famous for its fresh take on authentic Cal-Mex cuisine, took home top honors at the Masters Cup, serving homemade plantain chips with salsas, Chipotle Pork Rolled Quesadillas and their most popular Baja Fish Tacos.
Co-founder and Owner Jesse Vendley, was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article on this year’s Vendy Awards as saying, “Our taco carts are like a billboard with a tasting component…If we had just opened a little taqueria somewhere, we wouldn’t be nearly as well known...”
Calexico’s original win in 2008 presented many opportunities for the brand, including being asked to appear on The Martha Stewart Show and allowing them to raise the capital to open additional carts and full service restaurants.
Calexico currently has 3 brick-and-mortar stores open in Brooklyn, 3 NYC-area street carts, a vendor unit in the state-of-the-art Barclays Center, and a new franchised store open on the Lower East Side of Manhattan; as well as multi-unit development deals signed for Manhattan, Philadelphia, Chicago and Queens/Long Island.
Calexico started out as a street cart in New York City in 2006. Founded by three brothers from the border town of Calexico, California, the cart quickly developed a cult following by serving fresh, intensely flavorful food that combines the tastes of Mexico with elements of American barbecue.
What began as a street cart has now grown into a variety of formats, including a fast casual restaurant, full service restaurants with full bars, and multiple concession units inside Brooklyn’s state-of-the-art Barclays Center Arena.
Despite the rapid growth of the business, Calexico’s mission remains simple: to serve delicious, reasonably-priced food inspired by the town that gave the brand its name.