Outside in: Al-fresco Smorgasburg fest debuting two indoor markets this fall

Eric Demby, left, and Jonathan Butler brought their beloved Smorgasburg food fair indoors for the first time in 2018, setting up shop inside two venues in Fort Greene and Williamsburg.
Photo by Colin Mixson

The walls are closing in on Brooklyn’s largest open-air food market!

The foodies behind Smorgasburg are moving the outdoor festival inside for the first time this fall, setting up shop inside a massive space within Fort Greene’s Atlantic Center Mall.

“This is the first year we’re having a Smorgasburg indoor market, and having it be more of a year-round entity,” said Eric Demby, who co-founded the food fair with Jonathan Butler in 2011.

The duo is kicking-off its four-walled version of the weekend grub hub on Nov. 3 in a 25,000-square-foot space — which is roughly half the size of Smorgasburg’s al-fresco venues, but still plenty of room for the roughly 20,000 chowhounds who attend the outdoor events, the last of which this year is on Oct. 27 from 11 am to 6 pm at Williamsburg’s East River Park.

The new fall-winter festival will continue on Saturdays from 11 am to 8 pm, and on Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm, until its organizers take it back outside sometime next March, they said.

Smorgasburg’s Atlantic Center iteration will feature about a quarter of the 100 vendors that typically hawk treats at its outdoor fairs, according to Demby, who said it will also boast a full bar for patrons who prefer liquid meals.

The food festival’s move into the mall coincides with the arrival of Demby and Butler’s other market-style fair, Brooklyn Flea, which will feature some 25 booths selling vintage clothing, antiques, jewelry, and other inedible wares in the same space.

And vendors, who are required to dismantle their stations after the outdoor Smorgasburg events wrap each Sunday, will be able to leave their booths in place during the indoor season — making it easy for the organizers to arrange private feasts during the week for customers craving a one-of-a-kind special event, Demby said.

“There will be a market setup there already, so if somebody wanted to have a crazy Smorgasburg holiday event, it would be really easy to setup,” he said.

Atlantic Center Mall isn’t the only enclosed space Smorgasburg is occupying this season, however. Its founders partnered with hipster publisher Vice Media to produce a smaller indoor market in Williamsburg that will debut on Nov. 2, and feature 15 food vendors and booze, as well as music performances and art exhibits curated by Vice staffers.

But that fair — which will be held at the media company’s Kent Avenue venue, Villain, on Fridays through Dec. 21 — will begin around the time other Smorgasburg events wind down, starting at 6 pm and going till “late,” according to Demby, who said he hopes it will draw more of an after-hours crowd.

“We like the idea of a night market,” he said.

Smorgasburg at Atlantic Center Mall [625 Atlantic Ave. between Fort Greene Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, www.smorgasburg.com]. Sat. 11 am to 8 pm. Sun. 11 am to 5 pm.

Smorgasburg at Villain [307 Kent Ave. between S. Second and S. Third streets in Williamsburg, www.smorgasburg.com/nightmarket]. Fridays through Dec. 21 from 6 pm to “late.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Breaking a sweat: The co-owners are hard at work — literally — getting their new walled food fest up and running in the mall.
Photo by Colin Mixson