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You may have already heard that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs announced the 20 food vendors who will take part in the inaugural Curbside Cook-Off on Oct. 7 and 8 at CityCenterDC. The list is heavy on the newbie trucks that have generated so much controversy, but two vendors in particular stick out like tourists in downtown D.C.
Both Rebel Heroes and District Taco are Northern Virginia street-food operators. How’d they sneak into a cook-off co-hosted by DCRA?
Sam Williams, vending coordinator for DCRA, says the NoVa vendors’ inclusion is simply to “highlight carts not in the District that are trying to get a license here.” For example, Williams notes that District Taco, the terrific Yucatan-influenced vendor in Arlington, can’t secure a license in the city after which it takes its name. Why? Because District Taco is a food cart, not a truck, and cart licenses can’t be issued until the new regulations are passed.
As for Rebel Heroes, Williams says that he’s been working with the owners to license the popular truck in the District. He expects Rebel Heroes to be licensed by the time of the Curbside Cook-Off. This means, of course, that El Floridano will soon have competition in the rolling banh mi market.
No one, it seems, has heard of BBQ Bandidos, one of the 20 winners. But Williams is looking into it. Or he will once he’s out of the hospital. The DCRA official broke his leg Sunday during his usual soccer game. He says it’s bad. “I’m going to be out of commission,” he says.
More than 4,800 ballots were cast in the contest. Here are the 20 winning vendors:
Red Hook Lobster Truck
Pedro and Vinny’s Burrito Cart
Food Chain DC