Schenectady based food truck facing controversy once again - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Schenectady based food truck facing controversy once again

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- A Schenectady-based food truck is in the midst of controversy once again after already being cut from vending at other local events.

The Wandering Dago was on the list of food trucks set to be at an upcoming food truck rodeo in Schenectady, but on Monday residents voiced their concerns to the City Council.

"Dago is a very offensive term for Italian-Americans," Rosemarie Pugliese said.

"The word Dago is directed at Italians, and my father, being one of them," Vito Spinelli added.

A number of Italian-Americans spoke out Monday trying to scrap the truck from the list of vendors at an upcoming food truck rodeo in Schenectady. The truck's co-owner, Brandon Snooks, listened.

"We always applaud when people stand up for what they believe in," he said.

Schenectady City Coucilman Vince Riggi also weighed in on the matter during the meeting.

"It is not flattering," he said. "The city shouldn't be involved in anything that might make people for what they're being called a name."

After Riggi's comments, Snooks said he had enough and attempted to speak but was told he had his chance during public comment where he didn't choose to speak.

"I'm not sure if an elected official should share his opinion on where someone should do business," Snooks said.

"This is the exact place to do something like this; to bring things to the public," Riggi said. "I got many phone calls about this. If he thinks he is doing Schenectady good, no, Schenectady got a big black eye by that truck."

In a previous interview, the truck's owners said they're both of Italian descent and consider the term a tribute to their hardworking immigrant ancestors.

Earlier in the summer, New York Racing Association officials banned the food truck from Saratoga Race Course after customers complained that the name of the business was offensive. The owners also had a previous run-in with the state when they were denied a food vendor's license by the Empire State Plaza Vendor Program in downtown Albany. Snooks said the company's name had been approved by the NYS Division of Corporations, the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance and the IRS.

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