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NYC Restaurants and Business Groups Pressure City Council to Oppose Street Food Vendor Bill

Plus, acclaimed chef Mashama Bailey launches three-course, $65 dinners for takeout and delivery at Intersect by Lexus — and more intel

A street food cart parked on a sidewalk
A street food vendor in Flushing
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Over 150 businesses and organizations sign letter opposing bill that would lift the cap on NYC street food vendor permits

A proposed City Council bill that aims to lift a longstanding cap on street vendor permits available in NYC has received strong opposition from some neighborhood restaurants and business groups. According to the New York Post, over 150 food businesses and local organizations — including the Downtown Alliance, Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District and the Long Island City Partnership — sent a letter to Speaker Corey Johnson opposing the bill, which street vendors and advocacy groups have been fighting to pass for years.

Restaurateurs expressed concern that more street vendors may drive away business from their establishments. Sandra Jaquez, the owner of Inwood Mexican restaurants Il Sole and Sa’Tacos, said that allowing more street vendors causes more direct competition for customers in an already-strained economy. A street vendor parked near her restaurant and sold tacos for $2.50 apiece, while she was selling tacos for $4.50 apiece, she told the Post. “Why not help us? We employ people,” she said.

NYC has a decades-old, stringent cap on street vendor permits that has crippled the industry, according to those in favor of the bill. The cap has led to 20-year-long waitlists and has cultivated a black market where permits are sold for huge markups. If the legislation passes, it would allow the number of street food vendors to rise from 5,000 to 9,000, according to the Post.

Johnson told the Post that the Council is “seriously considering” passing the bill. The legislation is sponsored by Council member Margaret Chin and backed by 28 other members.

In other news

— James Beard Award-winning chef Mashama Bailey of the Grey in Savannah, Georgia, is beginning her three-month residency at Intersect by Lexus, which is operated by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, on Monday, January 21. Since indoor dining is banned, the operation has switched to takeout and delivery with three-course meals priced at $65 apiece, according to a restaurant spokesperson. The first meal includes smoked catfish dip with rye crackers, a yardbird with captain sauce, and a devil’s food cake. The menu will change weekly; pre-orders are available here.

— Williamsburg cafe and wine bar Winona’s has launched wine consultations on Instagram. Co-owner and executive chef Cressida Greening, who is also a certified sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, runs through questions over DM with customers to curate personalized wine orders.

— Learn how to make banh chung with a DIY kit and a Zoom class on February 6, in celebration of Tet, Vietnam’s Lunar New Year holiday. Kits are $46 apiece and include the fixings to make four banh chung. Pickups are available from Saigon Social, Ban Be, and Di an Di.

— A 17,000 square-foot Trader Joe’s outpost planned for Long Island City will likely open by the end of the summer.

— Solid hack:

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