The champs! Red Hook vendors win the ‘Vendy Cup’

for The Brooklyn Paper
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They’re number one! They’re number one!

Solber Pupusas — a 12-year veteran of the Red Hook ballfields — brought the Vendy Cup back to Brooklyn last Saturday, trumping serious Manhattan “contenders” such as Souvlaki GR, Sam’s Falafel, Eggstravaganza and Chimichury El Malecon for the title of top food vendor in the whole freakin’ city.

The victory was nothing short of confirmation that our national myth is, in fact, reality.

“It’s nothing less than the American Dream,” said Reina Bermudez, who makes the chicken- and pork-stuffed pupusas — traditional Salvadorean corn-patties — with her husband, Rafael Soler.

The savory pies tantalized the taste buds of judges and attendees during the seventh annual street eats showcase and cook-off on Governors Island, garnering Solber Pupusas the vending equivalent of an Academy Award.

“It feels amazing to represent for Brooklyn — traditionally, the event has been a stronghold for Midtown vendors,” added Soler, who has wowed Brooklyn with Caribbean-accented pupusas for well over a decade.

“What makes our food special is that it’s a fusion, just like our marriage,” he said. “The pupusas represent Reina and El Salvador, and the chorizo we use, the plantains, the bean and the bacalao pupusas, the condiments — they are the flavors of my country, the Dominican Republic.”

The couple is used to fielding long lines wherever they go — the ballfields, the Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg — but they’re excited to be recognized by the Vendy’s for what they describe as a true labor of love.

“What we do feels so intimate, working with each other, making something together by hand,” mused Soler. “To be acknowledged and honored for that is humbling.”

This victory may lead to even bigger things (if there’s something bigger than a Vendy!).

“Everyone asks where our restaurant is. It’s very difficult being in Brooklyn part time,” said Bermudez. “Our ultimate dream is to settle, have a store in one or several of the neighborhoods. Create a home within our home.”

We’ll raise a cup to that.

For info about Solber Pupusas, visit

Updated 12:49 am, September 28, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

Bogføre McWiggles from Booklynd says:
What's this? I was the original Nig! Hollow!
Sept. 29, 2011, 5:34 pm

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