Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are stepping into the kitchen and not just for the summer.
Demby and Butler — whose first-ever seasonal restaurant, 180 Tenth by Smorgasburg, debuted last week in the front courtyard and garden of Chelsea’s High Line Hotel — are set to launch a new bar and eatery in DUMBO by late August, amNewYork has learned.
The new restaurant, called Harborcoat, will open its doors at 66 Water St., next door to the Jacques Torres chocolate shop, according to Demby.
The gastropub takes its name after the first song on the alt-rock group R.E.M.’s 1984 album “Reckoning.”
“It’s a band that Jonathan and I really love,” said Demby, who described the anticipated feel of the partners’ forthcoming venture as “welcoming and cozy and accessible to neighbors, tourists and area workers.”
The Smorgasburg co-founders, who also run the Berg’n food and beer hall in Crown Heights, have yet to hire a chef or finalize the Harborcoat concept, Demby said.
But 180 Tenth by Smorgasburg, a prototype of sorts, hints at their longer-term ambitions.
Demby and Butler had already begun planning their DUMBO bar when the High Line Hotel offered them the opportunity to run a seasonal restaurant, Demby told amNewYork.
“And we’re like, ‘Oh, guess we’ll learn how to do this a little faster,’ ” he said. “We decided to do both, maybe against our better judgment.”
When it came to selecting head chef Aaron Taber, the partners chose a “vegetable-forward” candidate, Demby said. Notably absent from the menu at 180 Tenth by Smorgasburg — a selection of snacks and small plates like “crispy ramp polenta” and roasted carrots with almonds, herbs, raisins and piave cheese — are the viral novelty foods for which Smorgasburg is famous. Exposition is sparse, too.
The restaurant may place an emphasis on fresh and local, Demby explained, but “we don’t love a lot of adjectives on our menus, about sourcing, about how it’s prepared, about what the obscure ingredients are ... We’re anti-pretention.”
“I’m not the kind of guy who sits around and disparages other restaurants as a way of humble-bragging about my own... but our style is more straightforward,” Demby added.
As curators of taste at food halls and markets, Demby and his partner have always been the “envy of restaurateurs,” he said. “We never had to get involved with the drama of the kitchen.”
Nonetheless, I think temptation got the better of us, and we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to give it a go.’ ”