CBSNewYork is paying homage to New York City food trucks this week by spotlighting five of our favorites: The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, Korilla BBQ, Wafels & Dinges, Kelvin Natural Slush Co. and Schnitzel & Things. Check back each day for a new feature.
By Siobhan Wallace
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — When Eddie Song opened Korilla BBQ just over a year ago, he wasn’t expecting the massive crowds that came out to try his take on Korean barbecue.
“It was a mind-bending day, with a line that stretched the entire street from Lexington to Third Ave,” Song said.
Now, fresh off their Rookie of the Year win as this year’s Vendy Awards, the man behind the operation is looking back at the inspiration behind the venture.
“The inspiration to get into the food business was found from within. I thought back to the good old days of carefree me, when all I wanted to do was eat McDonalds, chase after Mister Softee with my bike and play Super Mario Bros II,” Song told CBSNewYork.
Fresh out of Columbia, Song took advantage of the economic recession facing the nation.
“I thought the recession was a great time to do whatever I wanted to do,” he said. “Failure? Who cares, I’m young and entire world is failing anyways.”
Juding from the giant fan base and the success at the Vendy Awards, Korilla BBQ has seen anything but failure.
“It hasn’t been an easy ride and winning that award made us stronger than ever,” Song said of his achievement.
Not that he necessarily expects an easy ride up ahead.
“The market is saturated and when it gets supersaturated, trucks will drop out of Manhattan,” Song said. “The problem with finding your own spot is just like finding a parking spot for your own car in Manhattan: As soon as you spot it, it’s gone. Similarly, when we first started, we found all our own spots and now we tango with other food truckers having permanently lost spots due to overcrowding.”
And while Song said he is looking to grow the Korilla brand – he is currently in the works of expanding the venture to other cities – the rules of the road have implemented somewhat of a roadblock.
“The future for the next season will definitely be private lots modeled after the Lot at Highline,” he said. “Unless legislation is changed, public street food vending is uncertain, tenuous at best.”
Siobhan Wallace is the co-founder of BlondieandBrownie.com.