From Smorgasburg to its Food Hall, Industry City’s rising culinary cred

From Smorgasburg to its Food Hall, Industry City’s rising culinary cred
The industrial complex in Sunset Park is quickly becoming a culinary hot spot.

The industrial complex in Sunset Park is quickly becoming a culinary hot spot.

Look what’s cooking in Industry City.

The Sunset Park industrial campus is quickly becoming a culinary destination, with a bustling Food Hall featuring nearly a dozen artisanal food vendors, food makers with wholesale production on site and, starting this weekend, Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, as the markets relocate to one of Industry City’s 16 buildings for the winter season.

It’s all part of the vision of developers Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon to make the 6-million-square-foot warehouse complex into a destination for the city’s “innovation economy” of creative startups, tech firms and manufacturers.

“In New York City and beyond, the artisanal and ethnic food industry has exploded — entrepreneurs want to make things again, and often they want to make food, and consumers are much more interested in a locally-made, sustainable product,” said Industry City CEO Andrew Kimball. “That fits in very well with the kind of authentic, locally-made vibe that we’re trying to bring to Industry City across every sector, not just food.”

The muffuletta from Ends Meat, one of the Food Hall vendors.
The muffuletta from Ends Meat, one of the Food Hall vendors. Photo Credit: Meredith Deliso

In the past two years since the developers formed their partnership, that’s included such food vendors as Li-Lac Chocolates, Parm and Brooklyn Brine and design firms like Design Within Reach. The Brooklyn Nets and Time Inc. have also signed leases. They all join older tenants such as four-year-old vodka makers Industry City Distillery and food flavorings and extracts manufacturer Virginia Dare, Industry City’s oldest tenant.

To accommodate the new workers and visitors, the century-old complex is also in the midst of a massive redevelopment to add courtyard space, improve sidewalks and connect the various buildings through what’s being called Innovation Alley.

“It’s really amazing how much has changed in the last year,” said Anthony Cirone, president of Li-Lac Chocolates, which moved its operations to Industry City during summer 2014. “The vision for what they were doing with Industry City was very exciting — the idea of making it more of a destination.”

Since August 2013, employment at Industry City has doubled, increasing from 2,100 to 4,000 jobs. All those new people need someplace to eat, which also led to the development of the Chelsea Market-esque Food Hall at 274 36th St., where vendors such as Blue Marble Ice Cream, One Girl Cookies, Steve & Andy’s Organics, The Fashion Chef, Liddabit Sweets and Ends Meat sell their goods daily (Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat.-Sun. from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.) and also make them on-site, with windows into their production facilities so visitors can watch them at work.

“It connects us to people in the community,” said John Ratliff of the dry-cured butcher shop Ends Meat. “It’s nice to be a part of that.”

Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are expected to bring up to an additional 8,000 people to Industry City every weekend, Kimball said. The vintage goods and food markets will take over the second floor at 241 37th St., as well as have a mini-arcade on the first floor.

“You really feel this sort of potential for what it’s going to become,” said Smorgasburg co-founder Eric Demby. “It’s super exciting to be a part of the future of a place, before that future has really crystallized.”

The food community, for one, is excited.

“To bring a hard-core food scene there is fantastic. We’re food guys here, so we get excited about that kind of stuff,” said Fletcher’s founder Bill Fletcher, whose BBQ restaurant is among the new Smorgasburg vendors and who’d like to be at Industry City in a more permanent way. “Definitely if you look forward 10 years from now, it’s going to be a major hub.”


Look who’s going to be at Smorgasburg

Smorgasburg will feature about 40 food makers at its new Industry City home. Here are a few of the highlights:

Charli’s Chicken: This popular vendor will be serving up the ever-trendy fried chicken.

Fletcher’s: The Gowanus BBQ spot makes its Smorgasburg debut, with ribs, hot links and its “barbecubano” sandwich.

Grandpa Val’s BBQ: A hit at Smorgasburg Queens, the vendor will be serving up its crowd-pleasing Dinosaur Rib.

Monk’s Meats: This vegan deli counter will feature charcuterie, cheeses and sandwiches.

Oaxaca Taqueria: The Smorgasburg regular debuts its talyuda — a Mexican tortilla topped with Oaxaca cheese, bean paste and your choice of toppings. 

Pho Shack: This popular Vietnamese pop-up from Lonestar Empire BBQ and Lucy’s Vietnamese returns.

Ramen Shack: Keizo Shimamoto of Ramen Burger fame is behind this sit-down counter, which debuted at Smorgasburg Queens.

Stand Coffee: The full-service café will feature Brooklyn roasters, including Café Grumpy and Lofted Coffee, sparkling espresso tonics and Dough doughnuts.

Wowfulls: This brand-new vendor plays on Hong Kong’s popular egg waffles, known as gai dan jai. 


On the calendar at Industry City

Need an excuse to check out Industry City? Here’s a look at what’s coming up at the Sunset Park complex.

Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg: The winter market will operate every weekend from Oct. 17 through March 27, 2016 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission.

Open Studios: Visit the workspace of more than 100 Industry City artists, makers and manufacturers Oct. 17 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission.

Mister Sunday: The seasonal outdoor dance party bows out Oct. 18, with DJs Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin spinning from 3-8 p.m. Tickets $15.

A Current Affair: This pop-up vintage fashion market will feature more than 50 retailers and dealers, as well as food, music and more, Oct. 17-18 from noon-6 p.m. Tickets $15 for general admission.

Brooklyn Crush Wine & Food Festival: Sample offerings from more than 250 wine and artisanal food makers Nov. 14 from 3-6 p.m. or 8-11 p.m. Tickets $75. 

American Field: This pop-up exhibition and market will feature American-made goods from more than 50 brands Nov. 21-22 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free admission. 

Meredith Deliso