Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg food market coming back to Toronto but with big changes

Brooklyn's Smorgasburg food market coming back to Toronto but with big changes

Brooklyn’s famous outdoor food market, Smorgasburg, returns to Toronto’s waterfront.

For 2023, Smorgasburg returns with more vendors, a longer season and, surprisingly, new management.

“We will be converting what was a pilot operation with a time-limited runway last year into a fully fledged market on par with our Brooklyn, LA, and Miami (and soon Montreal!) locations,” Eric, co-founder of Smorgasburg Demby writes in an email to blogTO.

“We will be adding more seating, more shade, a more robust bar program, better signage, and improved circulation, all with the goal of creating a smoother, more fun experience and a more comfortable atmosphere,” Demby writes.

Smorgasburg is expanding from eight to 12 dates, which they hope will help keep up with crowd demand as average daily visitors approached 15,000 over the past year.

The market will grow to 50 weekly vendors every Saturday. Recurring stands include Albi Sushi, Tâm, Chau, Kebabchi GTA and Tropic Love.

You will work with local promoter Collective Concerts to help with the customer service experience and operations. Smogasburg hired her to improve Toronto’s market based on her decades of experience producing high-volume events around the city.

As operations expand, one of the key changes at Smorgasburg is that they are no longer using the team that curated the food vendors last year, which previously included food writer Suresh Doss and events curator Landon Logie.

In a statement, Doss wrote, “We really wanted to make sure we ran eight strong weeks in 2022 and were really happy with the turnout,” after curating well over 40 rotating vendors in two four-week sessions last year.

“It was very difficult to do and Landon did a phenomenal job. The result was a festival that a lot of people talked about. I’m happy that Smorgasburg is back this year,” says Doss.

You can look forward to experiencing many of the amazing vendors that Doss curated last year. According to Demby, most of these are returning to provide an incredible foundation for Smorgasburg to build on as it grows.

Along with favorites from Doss’ handpicked lineup, Smorgasburg usually opens the application process to the public and then curates based on the food tastings they run.

How does Toronto compare to Brooklyn’s OG market? “We’re on the water, just like our original/flagship market in Williamsburg, we’re within easy walking/bike/ferry/public transit/car access to both cities,” Demby writes.

“The unique entrepreneurial energy that only cities as different as New York and Toronto can generate is actually on an equal footing.” He adds, “I would say the food vendors in TO are a bit more cook-centric and less festive than in Brooklyn, which is what we used to be.” incredibly refreshing.”

Smorgasburg originally started in Brooklyn in 2011 as a spin-off of the Brooklyn Flea. Since then it has founded hundreds of small businesses and attracted millions of visitors to its markets across North America.

It’s worth stopping by more than once this summer as there will be plenty of sales and new faces over the 12 weeks.

“Smorgasburg’s strength is being a platform for small businesses to build and grow on, so we encourage vendors to strive to complete the full 12 weeks so we have a stable core business to leverage our collective impact to really build on the ground,” writes Demby.

Partnering with Collective Concerts, Demby explains: “There will be a level of professionalism both in the customer experience and invisibly behind the scenes, allowing both visitors and vendors to focus where they want: on the food and Drinking in the sun by the water.”

Smorgasburg Toronto returns for a second season from June 24 to September 9, 2023 at the corner of Queen’s Quay and Yonge St.