July 8, 2015 By Christian Murray
Smorgasburg Queens opens Saturday and its organizers held a preview event at the market’s Court Square location last night.
Twenty-four vendors will be at the market on opening day, which takes place inside a 43-29 Crescent Street industrial building and the connecting outdoor lot.
The event kicks off at 11am Saturday and will run every Saturday—from 11am-6pm– through October.
Food venders from across Queens will be participating, offering cuisine from a host of countries. There will be Filipino, Thai, Korean, Indian, Indonesian, Taiwanese, Georgian, Japanese, Chinese, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Colombian cuisine on offer.
Jonathan Butler, who operates several Smorgasburg markets in Brooklyn, said that he started recruiting vendors at the beginning of May and brought on food writer Joe DiStefano to help him find Queens-based vendors.
“Starting a new market—especially when going out into ethnic communities—is always a little harder, but once we gained momentum we had no trouble getting quality vendors.”
DiStefano, a Queens-born food writer who runs the blog Chopsticks+Marrow, hit the streets and searched for vendors in May.
“I wanted to have the Mexican seafood cocktail guy at the back of the bodega and the Chinese pork belly bun vendor from Flushing, and I wanted to have the Arepa lady from Jackson Heights…,” DiStafano said.
Some vendors applied via Smorgasburg’s website.
“We would invite some of them to come in, and four or five of us would try their food for lunch. We would then discuss it and decide [if they were suitable],” DiStafano said.
The venue can cater to up to 35 vendors. The market has space for about 15 vendors inside and about 20 in the outdoor lot.
Butler said that they didn’t want to fill all 35 slots to begin with so they would have room for quality vendors down the road.
Butler said that if the market does well he is open to the possibility of running it all year round. However, “we should not get ahead of ourselves,” he said.
The market is opening at a time when the LIC Flea & Food is in its third season. The LIC Flea, located on the empty lot at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, has nearly 80 vendors selling food, jewelry, fashion, furniture, art and crafts, antiques and collectibles.
Butler said the market has a policy of not approaching any vendors who are with the LIC Flea.
He said that the addition of a new food market is a boon to Long Island City. “More people will come to Long Island City and I see it like a rising tide where it lifts all boats.”
List of restaurants/vendors (click on images: note poor quality photos below)