Smorgasburg is headed across the Hudson. The popular outdoor food market, which started as a flea market in Williamsburg nearly 12 years ago, is preparing to open in Jersey City later this month, co-founder Eric Demby confirms. The expansion marks the company’s first location outside of New York City or Los Angeles, and first time operating in-person since fall 2019.
The outdoor market will be based out of a 40,000-square-foot parking lot at 195 Hudson Street starting on May 29, and will operate every Saturday thereafter through at least October. The opening lineup will consist of 25 to 30 food vendors, according to Demby, a combination of businesses based in New Jersey and vendors that have previously appeared at Smorgasburg locations in New York City.
The lineup is smaller than in Prospect Park or Williamsburg — in part due to the downturn in business some mobile food vendors have faced over the last year — but that list will likely grow as time goes on and capacity limits on outdoor gatherings increase. “Our vendors have been bereft of income for so long,” Demby says. “For any business to start back up right now is so emotional and risky financially that we want a low number of vendors to do really well. We don’t want anyone coming out and losing money.”
Smorgasburg’s locations in New York and Los Angeles are still on hold for now, while the food market awaits further guidance on outdoor gatherings from officials in those states.
New Jersey lifted capacity limits on outdoor gatherings earlier this month, but foot traffic at the new location is unlikely to match Smorgasburgs of years past, which could attract as many as 20,000 customers in a single day. In Jersey City, customers will order food from vendors set-up in the parking lot but eat in separate spaces, including in closed-off streetways nearby.
“You never want to feel like it’s crowded,” Demby says. “You’re not going to be rushed, but you’re going to spill out and eat in the neighborhood.”
The New Jersey expansion has been in the works since February of this year, Demby says, when realty company Mack-Cali approached him about opening an outpost of Smorgasburg at Harborside, the group’s multi-million waterfront development.
As for Smorgasburg New York, all the pieces are in place for the locations in Prospect Park, Williamsburg, and the Financial District to open. Demby says the company is now waiting on state guidelines about outdoor gatherings, which have been issued in New Jersey but are still forthcoming in New York City at the time of publishing.
The current lineup of food vendors includes:
- Berg’s Pastrami
- Big Mozz
- C Bao
- Carlitos Barbecue Taqueria
- Duck Season
- Oyster Party
- Wood-Fired Edibles
Smorgasburg will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. starting on May 29.