Every year, over 150,000 guests travel to Randall’s Island in NYC for the three-day festival extravaganza known as Governors Ball. This year the festival is running from June 1-3, and in addition to the 60+ artists lined up, there will be over 50 different food vendors with an endless array of tasty offerings to power you through those long set lists. Each year, the Governors Ball team steps up their game and 2018 is no exception, with some of the year’s trendiest foods making appearances as well as multiple options for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free festival goers. 

Deciding what to eat at the festival can be difficult, as it can seem like there are too many options and not enough time to stand in line between sets. Don’t fret, the struggle stops here with your Governors Ball 2018 experience. I spoke to the best vendors, tasted their food, and have brought it all together to give you some top picks for foods you cannot afford to miss at this year’s 2018 Governors Ball Music Festival.

#SpoonTip: For vendors with diet conscious options, see gf=gluten free, vt=vegetarian, and vg=vegan.

Handheld bites are on trend this year

Gordo's Cantina [gf, vg, vt]

Rachel Eng

Gordo’s Cantina is bringing their delicious and authentic Mexican style fare from Long Island City and I could not be more excited. All of their festival options have hearty portion sizes, and each of them, especially the tacos, are easy to carry and very filling. Gordo’s also offers options for diet restricted individuals, with their Rajas con Queso customizable to remove the dairy elements. I personally recommend the nachos with either steak or chicken added since the portion size is more than enough for 2-3 people to split, and the flavors are amazing.

Some of their can't miss festival menu items are:

Nachos (with option to add steak or chicken): Housemade chips topped with queso, pico de gallo, jalapeños and crema

Rajas Con Queso: Three poblano peppers and roasted corn tacos mixed with queso and cream, served in corn tortillas

Pollo Tacos: Three achiote marinated chicken tacos topped with cilantro and onion served in corn tortillas

Arancini Bros [vt]

Rachel Eng

Arancini Bros have been the reigning king of arancini (fried risotto balls with specialized fillings) in NYC for a while now, and they’re back at Governors Ball this year with even more delicious options. The balls can be purchased individually or in sets of six (they come in a super cool egg carton), and they’re about the size of a baseball, making them very filling and worth your while. I highly recommend the Bucatini Fritti Ball as it has all the decadent mac n’ cheese flavors in just a small bite.

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Pizza Ball: Italian Style Pizza with fresh tomato, basil & oozing cheese.

Bucatini Fritti: Italians Style Mac & Cheese

Our Famous Nutella: Chocolate Hazelnut w/ Cinnamon & Sugar

The Nugget Spot

Rachel Eng

Nuggets are the perfect sized bite for the on-the-go festival attendee, and their crunchy, salty taste satisfies cravings while remaining relatively healthy as the Nugget Spot uses only hormone free proteins and fresh vegetables. At the festival, the Nugget Spot will only be serving their “Regs,” but they’ll be bringing along their homemade sauces. Not to mention, their “Reg” nuggets are probably the most perfectly seasoned, crispy nuggets I’ve ever had. Their brick and mortar location is easily accessible in East Village, and you can explore their 124 nugget options to cure your post festival blues.

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

The “Regs”: Nuggets in seasoned flour with Smokin’ J’s BBQ Sauce

Melt Shop

Rachel Eng

No one does grilled cheese better than Melt Shop, an NYC staple that prides itself on serving up comfort food made from scratch. There is something extremely satisfying about biting into their sandwiches’ crunchy, buttery bread paired with oozing cheese. My mouth is watering from just remembering the flavor explosion on my tongue. At the festival they will be cooking up two types of loaded grilled cheeses and shop tots, all easy to carry and freshly made to order. This is an absolute can’t miss spot!

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Classic: American & NY Cheddar on Country White

Classic Deluxe: American & NY Cheddar, Bacon, Tomato, Caramelized Onion on Country White (festival special only)

Shop Tots: Tater Tots with Herbed Parmesan Cheese

Want sugar energy? You dessert it.

Stuffed Ice Cream NYC

Rachel Eng

Stuffed has revolutionized the ice cream and dessert game in NYC with their invention of the cruff, defined by them as a perfectly toasted, glazed donut stuffed with your ice cream flavor and toppings of choice. Not only are their cruffs delicious, but they also serve an eclectic array of homemade ice cream flavors, and they are bringing four of them with them to Randall’s Island. For anyone who’s not a huge donut fan (the horror), they will also be offering regular scoops and ice cream sandwiches, so really there’s something for everyone.

Some can't miss festival ice cream flavors are:

Burnt Honeycomb (charcoal maple base with honeycomb)

Cookie Monster (Blue Cookies n’ Cream)

Fruity Pebbles

Thai Iced Tea

Available Styles:

Cruff: Donut ice cream sandwich, pick one flavor & one topping

Ice Cream Sandwich: Pick one flavor

Ice Cream Scoops: Single, double, or triple


Rachel Eng

Famous for bringing their take on the authentic 1950s-style Hong Kong egg waffles to the streets of NYC, Wowfulls continues to serve up some of the prettiest treats in NYC. The Wowfulls team are basically experts at navigating long lines and high demand as third-timers to the festival, and last year they were known as one of the fastest lines. They attribute this success to their sole offering of the “Home Sweet Home” Wowfull, the singular menu choice eliminating indecision while maximizing tasty satisfaction. I highly recommend checking out their deliciously soft and warm wowfull paired with a HUGE scoop of ice cream.

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Home Sweet Home: Classic Wowfulls with cookie crumbs, chocolate sauce, powdered sugar, rainbow sprinkles, and pocky sticks


Rachel Eng

Serving up one of NYC’s tiniest and tastiest desserts, Doughnuttery is bringing their doughy, fried sweet treats to the festival this year. What makes their donuts unique is their small size, but don't let that fool you, they pack a strong flavor punch. Each donut is fried and then hand dipped/seasoned to create the individual flavouring. They have four different offerings at the festival this year, and my personal favorite is the classic cinnamon sugar. As tasty as the other flavors are, there’s something nostalgic and irreplaceable about this classic flavor pairing.

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Classic Cinnamon Sugar: With Vietnamese cinnamon

Vanilla Glaze: with optional rainbow sprinkles

Fruity Cereal: Fruity Cereal, Sugar

Coco Loco: Cocoa, Chocolate Cereal

Taiyaki NYC

Rachel Eng

Acclaimed for their legendary fish-shaped ice cream cones that are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside, Taiyaki will once again be serving at Governors Ball and I couldn't be more excited. In addition to their classic taiyaki cones with flavors like matcha, sesame, and taro ice cream, they will be vending their famous unicorn float. Not only is this the perfect photo op for those decked out in festival gear, but the taro milkshake is actually dairy free, making it friends for those lactose intolerant friends who usually miss out on dessert!

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Matcha Better: Matcha, red bean filling, mochi, matcha powder, and strawberry drizzle

Taro Slush Unicorn Float: Unicorn floatie with dairy-free taro slush, whipped cream, and crunchy cotton candy sprinkles


Rachel Eng

An ice cream centered brand that began on the streets of LA in a food truck almost 10 years ago, Coolhaus made their festival debut at Coachella and has been churning out innovative dessert hits on both coasts since then. Some of their creative flavors include avocado sea salt, fried chicken and waffles, and and rose, and they’ll be making their highly anticipated Governors Ball debut this year along with two brand new artisan flavors with the options of choosing between a cup or homemade cookie sandwich.

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Ice Cream Flavors:

Milkshake N’ Fries: AKA “Fast Food”. Made with salted Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream with shoestring french fries and milk chocolate malt balls

Street Cart Churro: Mouthwatering bits of sugar-coated fried dough goodness

Available Styles:

Single Story Ice Cream Sammie

2 Story Ice Cream Sammie

Single Scoop

Double Scoop

When you’re thirsty, don’t forget…

John’s Juice (gf, vg, vt)

Rachel Eng

With the tagline of all juice no cups, John’s Juice was made for the festival life, serving up endless combos of fresh fruit juice straight out of the fruits themselves. Some of their most well known drinks are made in oranges, pineapples, watermelons, and dragon fruit, and at the Governor’s Ball John’s Juice will be bringing their classic favorites as well as premiering a couple new specialty drinks, made from fresh juice and a selection of curated syrup recipes. I honestly cannot wait to grab my pineapple as a refreshment between sets

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Watermelon John: Fresh watermelon juice

Dragon Fruit John: Fresh Dragon fruit juice

Pineapple Smoothie Bowl: Açaí berry and pineapple base with granola, coconut and mixed berry toppings

Pineapple Smoothie Bowl: Açaí berry and pineapple base with granola, coconut and mixed berry topping


Rachel Eng

A health centric, lifestyle curating brand, Juice Press will be bringing their refreshing juices and health shots to the festival this year. In between sets Juice Press is the perfect stop for anyone looking to refuel and not looking to drink a couple hundred calories in the process. In addition to their pressed juices and ginger fireball shot, Juice Press will also be cracking open fresh coconuts for the masses, and we all know this a photo opp waiting to happen.

Some can't miss festival menu items are:

Lucky Seven: JP mixes seven lucky ingredients to create a beautiful, ruby colored, sweet vegetable & fruit juice with a ginger kick!

GLO: Amazing blend of grapefruit, lemon, and orange

If you don't get a chance to visit your targeted vendors at the festival, don't worry. They all have restaurant and food truck locations that cater year round to customers. I hope that with this guide you'll be able to make educated meal decisions before the festival to minimize your time on line and to maximize your time eating and jamming out to the music. Best of luck with the nom, and see you on Randall's Island!