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A Wildly Popular Brooklyn Food Market Will Take Over Navy Yard This Summer

Smorgasburg will bring 30 D.C.-based vendors to Tingey Plaza on Saturdays

A packed scene from a Smorgasburg market last year in Brooklyn.
Scott Lynch/Smorgasburg

A pop-up outdoor food market that has drawn hordes of hungry people to packed events in New York and Los Angeles is expanding to D.C. next month.

Starting Saturday, June 15, Smorgasburg will set up a miniature tent city full of big-name D.C. vendors slinging yakitori skewers, wood-fired pizzas, Japanese-Hawaiian rice balls, and much more at the Tingey Plaza in Navy Yard. Markets will run on the grassy expanse from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday until at least October. Admission is free.

Smorgasburg looks to mix established talent in with innovative chefs deserving of a bigger platform. To ensure a stacked field in D.C., Smorgasburg has tabbed Sophia Florendo-Stevens as market manager. According to the company, she’s worked for Daikaya and Maketto along with Woodberry Kitchen and A Rake’s Progress, both run by James Beard award winner Spike Gjerde.

The D.C. version has already confirmed 23 of 30 vendors, touting commitments from local stars such as Kevin Tien, the Himitsu chef who will bring Sichuan hot chicken from Hot Lola’s, and chef Nobu Yamazaki, the chef of Michelin-starred Sushi Taro who will introduce a skewer booth called Skew’d. Timber Pizza is invited to the party, too.

Smorgasburg started in 2011 as an outgrowth of the Brooklyn Flea, which popped up in 2008. The company says the Brooklyn Smorgasburg is the largest weekly open-air food market in America, claiming that crowds of 20,000 to 30,000 descend upon 100 vendors in Prospect Park. Smorgasburg expanded to L.A. in 2016.

The Brooklyn Flea spawned a short-lived D.C. Flea in Shaw, which came in 2013 and left a year later. Co-founder Eric Demby tells Eater that the company wanted to find a way back to D.C. because of its booming food scene and the steady supply of visitors to the city.

New York’s Smorgasburg has become so popular that it’s spawned its own backlash. A headline for a (pretty curmudgeonly) op-ed that ran in Eater NY a few years back argued that “Smorgasburg Embodies Everything That’s Wrong With NYC Dining Right Now.”

The premise was that the crowds were a pain, people were there mostly to feed their Instagram accounts, and the market was no substitute for a restaurant experience. Or, as Greg Morabito eloquently put it, Smorgasburg embodied “a cultural shift away from dining and toward acquiring food.”

For those who would still like to acquire said food, here’s a list of confirmed vendors for D.C. as of May 16:

  • Balo Kitchen and Pho Wheels (Southeast Asian street food)
  • Bun’d Up (Korean bao)
  • Chaia (vegetarian Mexican)
  • Cracked (breakfast sandwiches)
  • Ekiben (Asian-American fusion from Baltimore)
  • Hilana Falafel
  • Hot Lola’s (Sichuan hot chicken)
  • Lei Musubi (Japanese-Hawaiian rice balls)
  • Lost Sock Roasters (coffee)
  • Milk Cult (ice cream sandwiches)
  • New Standard Sandwich (from Reverie and Columbia Room alum Adam Zerhouni)
  • Pinch Dumplings
  • Rebel Taco
  • Ruby Scoops (ice cream)
  • Seylou (breads, pastries, and tartines)
  • Skew’d (skewers)
  • Sloppy Mama’s BBQ
  • Spot of Tea (boba tea and Vietnamese coffee)
  • Swizzler (spiral-cut hot dogs)
  • The Berliner (sausages, kebabs, pretzels)\
  • Timber Pizza
  • Uzu 9 (Japanese comfort food)
  • Z&Z Za’atar (manoushe)

Smorgasburg DC, 200 Tingey Street SE at New Jersey Avenue