Smorgasburg, iconic Brooklyn food market, returns with major changes
If you were looking forward to chowing down on food-truck feasts while the Manhattan skyline looms across the East River like in the summers of yore, fret not. The longtime weekend food market, whose flagship Williamsburg location is known for luring tens of thousands of people every weekend, returns Monday.
But, like every other once-crowded event New Yorkers know and love, it’ll be different.
Now, it’s a smaller, socially distanced affair called Smorg To Go. Read on for what you can expect.
The outdoor food fest is now Smorg To Go — a takeout-only model at 51 N. Sixth St., across Kent Avenue from its usual perch. Additional locations are in the works, but for now, visitors can fill their bellies here with bites from a rotating lineup of vendors.
Among them is Clinton Hill’s the Good Batch, known for its ice-cream sandwiches, which is one of the market’s longest-standing vendors.
“Although it’s a new normal, at least it’s a return to something that’s kept our business thriving for the last decade,” says Anna Gordon, 36, the Good Batch’s founder, chef and co-owner.
The date and time
Typically, Smorgasburg hosts about 100 vendors one day per week. Now, Smorg To Go will operate seven days per week between 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. — but with far fewer vendors. There will be 10 total, and they will rotate on a weekly basis.
The first two weeks will see a mix of Smorgasburg mainstays, including the Good Batch, and newcomers, like Portland, Ore.-based the Whole Bowl (which serves rice and beans dishes). Those two will set up shop beginning Monday, and be joined in the first week by Lobsterdamus, #Gogi (Geo Si Gi), Berg’s Pastrami, Burger Supreme, Excell Kingston Eatery, Mai Bpen Rai, Mao’s Bao and Vaquero Elotes.
How to order and pick up
This time around, instead of heading to each vendor’s truck or stall to browse selections and grab food, hungry patrons will need to order through a new Web-ordering platform, SmorgToGo.com. The site launches Monday in tandem with the revamped market.
When their order is ready, customers will get an e-mail or text-message notification to grab their to-go goodies at a centralized spot on the lot.
Where to eat your food
In an effort to prevent overcrowding, there will be no on-site dining allowed.
Instead, the organizers note, folks can grab their bagged meals or snacks and head to the nearby waterfront Marsha P. Johnson State Park — just a block away — for a picnic.
What to order
“I’m going to feature the house-smoked and house-cured pastrami sandwiches,” says Andrew Steinberg, the founder of Berg’s Pastrami, which debuted at Smorgasburg in 2019. That said, you can get a classic pastrami sandwich for $13 — and vegans even have their own eggplant-based version for $9. But if you’re looking for the mile-high Katz’s-style sandwich, that’ll run $21. And because “someone always brought a babka to the party” when Steinberg was growing up, the 36-year-old Astoria resident will also sell freshly baked slices of the classic Nutella chocolate chip cake for $3 apiece.
Meanwhile, the Good Batch will serve up its popular ice-cream sandwiches. For $7 each, you have a choice of oat vanilla fudge, brownie caramel or confetti cake.
Also during the first week, get your meat fix at Korean barbecue pork stand #Gogi and, for something Thai, papaya salad stand Mai Bpen Ren.
Among the options for the second week, Petisco Brazuca — a Brazilian eatery from Sao Paulo transplants Ricardo Rosa and Vanessa Oliveira — known for its creamy chicken croquettes, called coxinha. Also that second week, if you’re fixing for a pie, check out Groundlings Pizza.
Sorry, folks of legal age: No alcohol will be served.
Extra safety measures
The organizers say social distancing, face mask-wearing and adherence to all city and state health guidelines will be strictly enforced for everyone from vendors to customers.
Now let’s eat!
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