Stephen Werther, the entrepreneur who's working with Anthony Bourdain to open Bourdain Market, his wildly anticipated New York City food hall, was in Singapore yesterday, to speak before the World Street Food Congress. This is the annual conference hosted by KF Seetoh, the Singaporean street food authority who is helping the duo plan Bourdain Market. At one time, Bourdain himself was expected to reveal new details about his mega food hall at the conference, but instead it was Werther who made the appearance. Still, just as hoped, he unleashed a lot of juicy new facts. Here they are:
- The "crazy-looking" floor plan shows that the space will be divided into a farmers market and an "authentic hawker center" of food stalls.
- Don't expect that hawker center to be slick and orderly. "It is meant to be crowded and chaotic because that's what hawker centres should be," Werther told the crowd. It might even be "more chaotic than how the hawkers markets are organized [in Singapore]."
- Do expect to wait in line: "New York's idea of street food," Werther says, is "new versions of what we call fast casual. And that's not what this is. It might be casual, but it's not fast." To that end, "Yes, you should stand in line. Why not? It took them a long time to make it, you should be willing to wait in line to buy it."
- The farmers market section will house a produce market, a butcher shop, a bakery and a pastry shop, a tapas bar, a tea shop, and a 1,500 square-foot oyster bar, none of which will be "the usual suspects" (whoever those are). Outside there will also be an Asian-influenced beer garden.
- The space will take its design inspiration from Blade Runner and the back alleys of Tokyo, among other things.
- To maintain quality, the duo are, as promised, trying to enlist veteran street food vendors from cities across the world. But they also reserve the right to kick out vendors who aren't meeting their standards at any time, even after just a few weeks.
The location of Bourdain Market still remains shrouded in mystery, as does the opening date. All we know is that is should open some time this year. So keep those eyes peeled, and those ears to the ground, and send any and all intel to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: Here is one rather blurry picture of one of the renderings Werther showed during his talk:
Look real closely and it's possible to just make out the name of the design firm: Roman and Williams. That's the company responsible for designing such restaurants as Lafayette, Upland, and The Breslin, as well as hotels and luxury buildings in New York and around the world. And in fact, a dig through Roman and Williams's Instagram turns up another rendering, which is tagged with both #anthonybourdain and #bladerunner:
And here's one more, of the oyster bar, from Werther:
To talk about this pic.twitter.com/SuwYnZP9J0— Stephen Werther (@swerther) April 5, 2015
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