Smorgasburg, the dominant Brooklyn food market your out-of-town friends want to visit, is headed to Manhattan. Come early August, founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler will bring their outdoor eating extravaganza of viral novelty foods, carefully curated bites, and long lines to 76 Varick Street, that nebulous area where Soho, Tribeca, and Hudson Square converge.
While Smorgasburg has cherry-picked vendors in the Meatpacking District and at the South Street Seaport (which is ending this summer), Demby considers this the food market’s Manhattan debut. “This will be some real placemaking, probably with picnic benches and grass or turf,” he says. “We’re going to try to step up our game a bit with this.”
A little smaller than the Brooklyn sites, at 22,000 square feet, this location will allow for an indoor market in the winter for a daily, year-long Smorgasburg. “It’s a fully designed and landscaped site with shading,” Demby tells Eater NY. “We’re still figuring it out, but there will definitely be a structural component. It’s more than just a lot we took over and turned into weekend markets.”
Rather than generator-powered food stands, the space allows for food truck parking. Since Smorgasburg is technically a private space, vehicles don’t need a mobile food vending permit, something Demby hopes will make it easier to find first-time mobile vendors.
On weekdays, there will be four to six food options, with many more on weekends. Not only will this location serve food (and drinks), but it will also combine with Brooklyn Flea to bring in up to 40 other vendors and products. “It’s like a smaller and hybrid version of Smorgasburg and the Flea,” Demby says. He’s trying to source an Airstream to serve as the bar, which will have a full liquor license pending Community Board approval.
As of now, Smorgasburg has a two-year lease on the area, which was a special-event space in its previous life. Demby predicts the location will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with an emphasis on lunch and happy hour. Stay tuned for details as August approaches.