Whole Foods Brings Brooklyn Foodies Market to Manhattan
Beginning October 22, select vendors from Brooklyn Flea’s popular Smorgasburg outdoor foodies markets began setting up shop for month-long pop-ups in Whole Foods’ Bowery store.
In a review last year by The New York Times, Smorgasburg was described as the "Woodstock of Eating" akin to "a summer rock festival for food: exciting, overwhelming, sweaty, hot. You’ll hit your limit, and then you’ll want more."
Launched in May 2011, the all-food market in Williamsburg features over 75 vendors — including a few new, underground restaurants and food trucks but mostly upstart culinary entrepreneurs. Opened every Saturday except for the cold months, a second location opened on Sundays in September in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) underneath the Brooklyn Bridge.
Food vendors are packed side-by-side, many featuring long lines for their handheld, ready-to-eat foods. Attendees discover many arcane delicacies from Asia, South America, the rural U.S. South and elsewhere while also taking in interesting twists on standard foodie grub, such as BBQ, lobster rolls, tacos, dumplings and donuts. Part of the charm is that the market is held outside with people often eating while standing up or holding an impromptu picnic at a nearby public square.
The first three joining "Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Market Bowery" at the stores just-renovated cafe are Danny Lyu’s Cemitas, known for their 10-layer Mexican sandwiches, followed in late November by Keith Klein’s Milk Truck Grilled Cheese and then Hugh Mangum’s Mighty Quinn’s, specializing in smoked meats.
In early 2013, a Smorgasburg "Snack Bar" will open at Whole Foods Bowery location selling Smorgasburg’s "packaged and retail-ready purveyors," as other vendor partners already selling exclusively to the chain.
For the food vendors, the venture provides a chance to move from market booth to brick & mortar restaurant, said Eric Demby, co-founder of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg in a statement. "It really positions our markets and Whole Foods Market as true incubators, creating a pipeline to professionalism that we can usher the finest of our family into."
Many vendors will also find a space during colder months to sell their fare.
Whole Foods benefits from attaching its name to a popular foodie event attracting a younger crowd.
"We have a specific goal to discover and develop up-and-coming local producers as well as continue to find unique ways to celebrate them with our shoppers," said Whole Foods’ Local Forager for the Tri-State area, Elly Truesdell.
- Brooklyn Flea and Whole Foods Market Introduce Smorgasburg Bowery – Whole Foods Market
- Smorgasburg at Whole Foods Bowery – Brooklyn Flea
- Vendors from Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg will do trial runs at Whole Foods Market Bowery café – New York Daily News
- Brooklyn Market: Woodstock of Eating – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
- Smorgasburg Spreads to Dumbo – The New York Times (tiered sub.)
Should grocers be aligning themselves more with local foodie movements? What do you think of Whole Foods’ partnership with the Smorgasburg food market? In what other ways should grocers tap into local foodie communities?