By SARA PEPITONE
Last Updated: 11:54 PM, September 14, 2012
Posted: 10:25 PM, September 14, 2012
Shortly after they snared Tim Tebow in the off-season, the Jets front office and their billionaire team owner, Woody Johnson, huddled for the next play: convincing local food trucks to give tailgating Jets fans a tasty new option on game day.
“We think food trucks are very much New York, very much the city. That’s what we wanted to bring to the stadium experience,” says Jets president Neil Glat, adding, “If you do the unscientific research, you’ll find that people like truck food.”
So two of the team’s top business execs — Glat and Chris Pierce, senior director of merchandise and concessions — hit Manhattan in search of hip and scrumptious treats from vendors willing to cross the Hudson.
After a 15-truck tour — and full tummies — the football honchos recruited five (and are in talks with a few more).
The Jets have already scored with fans who got a taste in MetLife Stadium parking lots for the Jets opener last Sunday.
“After making the 2-hour trek from Brooklyn to New Jersey on at least four different trains, and demoralized by the fact that we should have tailgated, I was amazed to find that we could sustain ourselves with actual food and not just yellow extract over corn chips,” says Graham Beatty, 29, throwing scorn on stadium options like nachos.
With the next Jets home game set for Sept. 30, here’s a look at Gang Green’s new option play when it comes to food.
Find the truck: @RickshawTruck on Twitter
“Rickshaw is so super-psyched to be part of the Jets season this year,” says owner Kenny Lao, who’s been trucking since 2008. The truck’s usual Manhattan menu of Asian snacks is available pregame. Park Slope resident Sean Tracy, not looking forward to the cheesy in-stadium offerings (“I envisioned my wife becoming very cranky”) was pleased to see the food trucks. He chose pork and Chinese chive dumplings, six for $9, while pal Graham Beatty went for the chicken and Thai basil. “The dumpling popped with ginger and basil,” says Beatty. “The flavors really came out after a dip in soy sauce.”
Must try: Vegetarian edamame dumplings, three for $5; with edamame side, $5
Find the truck: @KimchiTruck on Twitter
Siblings Christopher, 26, and Catherine Drew, 36, season
ticket holders, arrived an hour before the first game from Hampton Bays, LI. “This is a nice alternative to [the usual] tailgating,” says Catherine between bites of an spicy grilled chicken taco — served with pico de gallo and pickled daikon, kimchi chipolte aioli and topped with special Jets green-and-white wasabi crème fraîche (sour cream).
Long Island-raised truck owner Philip Lee had fun creating the Gang-Green wasabi — he’s a big Jets fan. His truck also offers a fresh kimchi bowl — a tortilla-less burrito with choice of barbecue beef short rib, spicy seared pork, grilled chicken or edamame tofu falafel ($12 to $13). The last one is perfect for any weight-watching Rex Ryan types.
Must try: Spicy grilled chicken tacos, $11 for three
Find the truck: @NuchasNYC on Twitter
The rookie Nuchas truck, just 3 months old, was the biggest draw during opening day, supporting owner Ariel Barbouth’s theory that empanadas are great sports eats. The flavorful (but not spicy-hot) Argentine empanada is made with Pat LaFrieda ground beef, onions, pepper, scallion, potatoes and olives. Like the other three empanadas on the menu, it’s freshly baked in the truck’s pizza oven.
“It’s like homemade, like not from a truck,” says Ramsey, NJ, resident Karen Pereira, 32, who was hoping to come out midgame to catch another empanada. But the trucks hit the road shortly after kickoff.
Already adored by soccer fans, Barbouth says, “There’s no reason why empanadas should not become a great Super Bowl snack.” And just in time for this season’s Super Bowl in New Jersey.
Must try: Argentine empanada, $5
Find the truck: @Mexicue on Twitter
So far, Jets fans have picked barbecue chicken tacos (smoked chicken, chipolte-mayo-like Alabama barbecue sauce, lettuce and cotija cheese), two for $12 as the fave here. But Tostilocos are what Mexicue created just for them. Fans of football, from high school to the NFL, will recognize Tostilocos as a walking taco (a k a taco in a bag, or Frito pie). It’s a small bag of Fritos topped with Mexicue’s sweet burnt-ends chili (made with Mexican chocolate) and choice of toppings (house-pickled jalapeños and lime crema are the fan-favorite combo; $2 extra for guacamole). “It has all the components of a nice appetizer: tang from the jalapeño, crunch from the chips,” says Christopher Drew, a banker from Hampton Bays, LI.
Before returning his fork to the bag he adds, “I’m sick of the same old usual options. The trucks need to stay.”
KELVIN NATURAL SLUSH CO.
Must try: Tostilocos, $9
Find the truck: @kelvinslush on Twitter
Kelvin Natural Slush Co. co-founder Alex Rein may have Polo Grounds-era ties to another home team, but that does not interfere with his enthusiasm to work with the Jets. “They are such an iconic New York institution. We are super excited about working with the Jets on this project.” So excited they created a tangy-sweet Gang Green Palmer (citrus slush, tea slush, green-apple purée) sold only at the stadium, and a hit during preseason and the season opener. Longtime season ticket holder Steve Fox, 45, a stock analyst in NYC, recognized the 2-year-old truck from the city. The Montclair, NJ, resident, an occasional tailgater, liked the icy-tea burst of the Gang Green Palmer. Daughter Paige,14, opted for a Citrus Raspberry. “It’s sweet but not too sweet,” she says.
Must try: Gang Green Palmer, $4.50 (9 ounces), $6 (12 ounces)