Brooklyn’s famous Smorgasburg outdoor food market is coming back to Toronto’s harbourfront.
For 2023, Smorgasburg returns with more vendors, a longer season and, surprisingly, new management.
“We’ll be transforming what was a pilot run last year with a limited-time runway into a fully formed market on par with our locations in Brooklyn, LA, and Miami (and soon Montreal!),” co-founder of Smorgasburg Eric Demby writes in an email to blogTO.
“We’ll be adding more seating, more shade, a more robust bar program, better signage, and improved circulation, all with the goal of a smoother and more fun experience and vibe,” writes Demby.
Smorgasburg is expanding from eight to 12 dates, which they hope will help to keep up with crowd demands, as the average daily visitors neared 15,000 last year.
The market will grow to 50 weekly vendors every Saturday. Returning booths include Albi Sushi, Tâm, Chau, Kebabchi GTA, and Tropic Love.
They will be partnering with local promoter Collective Concerts to help with customer service experiences and operations. Smogasburg entrusted them with improving Toronto’s market for their decades of experience producing high-volume events in the city.
As they expand operations, one of Smorgasburg’s major changes is they’re no longer using the team who curated the food vendors last year, which previously included food writer Suresh Doss and event curator Landon Logie.
In a statement Doss wrote, “We really wanted to make sure we executed eight strong weeks in 2022 and were really happy with the turnout,” having curated way more than 40 rotating vendors throughout two four-week sessions last year.
“This was very difficult to execute and Landon did a phenomenal job, the result was a festival that many 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. Demby says most of them are returning to create an incredible foundation for Smorgasburg to build on as it grows.
Along with favourites from Doss’ hand-picked lineup, Smorgasburg typically opens up the application process to the public and then curates based on the food tastings they conduct.
So how does Toronto compare to Brooklyn’s OG market? “We’re on the water just like our original/flagship market in Williamsburg, we’re easily accessible by foot/bike/ferry/transit/car in both cities,” Demby writes.
“The unique entrepreneurial energy that only cities as diverse as New York and Toronto can generate is actually on equal footing.” He adds, “I would say in TO the food vendors are a bit more chef-driven and less festival-style than in Brooklyn, which we find to be incredibly refreshing.”
Initially, Smorgasburg launched in Brooklyn in 2011 as a spinoff of the Brooklyn Flea. It has since launched hundreds of small businesses and attracted millions of visitors to its markets around North America.
It’s worth visiting more than once this summer, as there will be a good amount of turnover and new faces during the 12 weeks.
“Smorgasburg’s strength is being a platform for small businesses to build and grow from, so we do encourage vendors to strive for doing the full 12 weeks so that we have a stable of core businesses to really expand our collective impact locally,” Demby writes.
With the Collective Concerts partnership, Demby explains, “there will be a level of professionalism both for the customer experience and invisibly behind the scenes that will allow both visitors and vendors to focus where they want: on eating and drinking in the sun on the waterfront.”
Smorgasburg Toronto returns for a second season from June 24 to Sept. 9, 2023 at the corner of Queen’s Quay and Yonge St.