By now, you’ve probably heard of Brooklyn’s famous Smorgasburg. With over 100 food vendors, it’s currently the country’s largest weekend outdoor food market. I’ve always been curious but I’ve never been until recently. On a sunny Saturday afternoon, I hopped on the L train and went to the Williamsburg Smorgasburg for the first time. I thought I knew what to expect but to my surprise it was far from what I’d expected. And that’s good I think. Because I was expecting one of those commercial & overrated food events where you go to spend your money on boring overpriced food. Not the case at the the Smorgasburg. True, it’s no Per Se but the food is interesting. The vendors offer a vast array of choices, including gluten-free and vegan specialties. And while the prices may be high for what you get, it’s more than just about the food. First of all, unlike events such as Dessert Goals (which charges a 17$ general admission entry fee), entry to the Smorgasburg is FREE. It’s open to all ages but also offers alcoholic drinks available for purchase (for those over 21 years of age). The selection of both food and beverages is amazing, with a diverse range of international cuisine. It’s so vast, I struggled to keep up. I searched for a complete list of all the vendors, but could not find one. I even checked the Smorgasburg.com website and couldn’t find it. Perhaps there are just too many to list. Yes it’s that big!
One of the challenging things about going to the Smorgasburg for the first time is orienting yourself in the midst of all the chaos. It’s hot and crowded, with vendors and people coming and going. There’s almost too much to choose from. It’s like being in the middle of every single type of international food you can imagine and then trying to decide what you’re in the mood for. The lines tend to be long and it can be uncomfortably hot. One of the things on my wish list is for a Smorgasburg Night Market. Unfortunately, the Williamsburg Smorgasburg is only open on Saturdays until 6 PM. The Smorgasburg season begins in April and extends through October during some of the hottest days of the year. Thankfully, they have a free water station but you have to remember to bring your own refillable bottle because disposable bottles are banned – so are pets. If you’re planning to go, here’s a few suggestions:
1) Bring cash. Not all vendors accept credit cards.
2) Bring a refillable water bottle.
3) Wear lots of sunscreen & a hat. The sun is intense and we didn’t see any shaded areas.
4) Try to go with a friend. You can try more things and cover more ground.
5) Try to go during hours when the crowds are at the lowest point. Go early to make sure everything is in stock. Go later to avoid the heat. I went around 3 PM and it was OK.
Just a few basic tips. This event has been well covered and reported upon, no need to rehash what others have already said. Given all of the readily available information, suggest reading up on other’s Smorgasburg experiences before going. With so many choices, it’s easy to miss something. Yelp, Time Out, Eater, Grub Street, Trip Advisor, Google Reviews, The New York Times, Food Network, Lonely Planet and many other sites contain an abundance of information on the Smorgasburg. Personally, I went there to try the Raindrop cakes, Bona Bona Ice Cream, Halo Halo activated charcoal dessert and the lobster rolls. Compare notes with other individuals and create a list of 4 or 5 “must try” items before going there. Because if you don’t you’ll either be overwhelmed and or miss out on a few really good things. And make sure to enjoy the waterfront view. It’s spectacular!