Wandering Dago leaving summer home
Popular Capital Region food truck Wandering Dago has gotten the boot from the Saratoga Race Course.
Co-owner Andrea Loguidice said they were told late Friday evening that they were not welcome for the rest of the meet.
New York Racing Association spokesman Eric Wing said they receive several complaints about the name of the food truck, as "dago" has a history of being a derogatory name for Italians. "This should have been handled before Friday, but once we received complaints we took immediate action on behalf of our customers," Wing said.
Loguidice said they heard no complaints of the name on opening day and no one from NYRA had previously raised concerns over the name with them.
A press release from Thursday announcing the lineup of food venders at the track listed the Wandering Dago at the top of its list and billed it as "one of the country's top barbecue fusion trucks."
Loguidice was upset about the decision to oust them because of the name, which is a point of pride for her and co-owner Brandon Snooks. She said that both are of Italian descent and the name is derived from Italian immigrants who asked to be paid on a daily basis after employers started to refuse payment at the end of the week. "We get paid as the day goes," she explained, "and that's where we came up with the name."
This was supposed to be a big summer for the Wandering Dago, as Loguidice said they hoped to use the additional revenue to open a second food truck in the Capital Region.
Wing noted that Centerplate, which is hired by NYRA to oversee food sales at the track and has the contract with the Wandering Dago, has agreed to food costs incurred by Wandering Dago.
Loguidice appreciates the actions by Centerplate and said the really villain in this situation is a state official who has a problem with the name. She maintains that the call on Friday night kicking out the Wandering Dago came from a NYRA official, who she wouldn't name, who said the decision was being pushed by a state official.
The Wandering Dago has had its run ins with the state before, as they were denied a food vender license at the Empire State Plaza, which is run by the state's Office of General Services. Because of a recent NYRA agreement, OGS is also overseeing the Saratoga Race Course, but Loguidice didn't want to speculate on a possible connection. Instead, she hopes they can have a dialogue with the unnamed state official to explain what the food truck's name means to her and Snooks.
Wing said he was not familiar with concerns from anyone other that people at the track.
In the end, the Wandering Dago never served any food at the Saratoga Race Course, as Loguidice said a late arriving propane tank kept them from serving food on the opening day of the track. According to a tweet from the Wandering Dago, they will be returning to the Riverview Center in Menands.
Read a story we wrote on food trucks in April, which featured the Wandering Dago.
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