By Joe Anuta
A pair of Flushing food truck owners took home best dessert in the citywide Vendy Awards.
The Itizy Ice Cream Truck licked the competition at this year’s event, where judges and more than 1,000 hungry patrons crowned the city’s best mobile food carts Sept. 7.
“We’re honored to win. It’s like the Oscars for food trucks,” said Kenneth Chen, who runs the four-wheeled operation with his business partner, Ann Yu. “It is a really big award.”
Itizy serves up a variety of unique and truly homemade ice cream treats like hazelnut with chocolate crunch bites, Belgium dark chocolate or toasted banana. They buy their milk and cream from farmers upstate — sometimes getting their own dedicated cow — and thicken their decadent creations with eggs instead of processed chemicals.
The pair only rolled out the operation last year, and soon afterward won the Queens Economic Development Corp.’s Queens StartUP! Business Plan Competition before going on to capture the Vendy’s Best Dessert Award earlier this month.
“There are a lot of really popular trucks out there who got accepted to the Vendy’s and haven’t won,” said a humbled Chen.
But it was no easy task to get to the finish line.
The road to the winner’s circle started when the Vendy competition accepted public nominations for the best food trucks throughout the five boroughs. Itizy’s strong following naturally stepped up to the plate to get them into the contest. After the slate on nominees had been chosen, the food vendors all congregated on competition day to try and wow judges and anyone lucky enough to score a ticket to the event.
“It was definitely very challenging, just because of the volume of people,” Chen said.
He and Yu had to fortify their usual work force with family and friends to sling their treats as fast as possible over a four-hour period, when the line never dipped under 40 people.
The Vendy Awards is run by the nonprofit Urban Justice Center’s Street Vendor Project, which seeks to help struggling street vendors navigate increasing city red tape and educate entrepreneurs about their legal rights.
As the weather gets colder, the Itizy Ice Cream Truck will probably wind down operations ahead of winter, when Chen and Yu will take a much-needed vacation and strategize on expanding the business.
Options could include wholesale or catering, but whatever the duo think up, ice cream lovers can be sure they have not heard the last of Itizy.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-2600-4566.