The biggest outdoor food bazaar in the country has arrived in Wynwood.
Now set up in what used to be a vacant lot across from Wynwood Walls, Smorgasburg comes straight out of Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood — hence the “burg” in the name. But unlike most of the New York transplants now setting up shop in Miami, the open-air food market, brought to Miami by the Omotenashi Group, highlights Miami vendors.
“Most of them are just starting out,” says owner Gaston Becherano, who estimates that 90 percent of the vendors will be local to Miami. “We look for the best local chefs creating new concepts to come to Smorgasburg to showcase their talents.
“If you want to open a restaurant, step A to step B, from having the concept to becoming an owner, is quite risky. You need money. Smorgasburg is in the middle. You can grow your audience and develop a following. It’s a great opportunity for exposure and catering opportunities.”
The market, which also has a location in Los Angeles and will only be open on Saturdays, will eventually have around 60 vendors. A few will sell other items, like jewelry or crystals, but most will offer food of some sort, from Latin American favorites — empanadas, croquetas, mofongo — to fancy doughnuts and ice cream topped with torched meringue. There are grilled cheese sandwiches and bao buns. There is a lot of grilled meat.
“What can’t you find here?” Becherano says. “It’s Disneyland for food.”
You’ll recognize some familiar names from Instagram, like Sando Kitchen LLC, which serves up the sandwiches of your dreams, and Pizzella, a food truck with an Aloha pizza that could convert those who hate pineapple on a pie.
Other vendors have worked in and around Miami for years. Gregory Marsicano, who with George Duane Dasinger will man Yakitoriboyz, was a sous chef at Kyu. The Wolf of Tacos, Eduardo Lara, also worked at Kyu as well as La Santa and Mr. Mandolin, and he served the drunk and hungry outside J Wakefield Brewing in Wynwood. Were you one of his customers? You might not remember, but he was there.
Becherano, who grew up in South Florida but was born in Mexico City, says Lara’s street tacos are the best he has had in Miami.
The market opens at a time when diners are still reveling in eating outdoors and enjoying the mild South Florida weather. But as spring departs (any day now) and the grueling Florida summer begins, Smorgasburg faces a problem: Eating outside with no shelter in full sunlight becomes less appealing. And that’s not even considering the almost-daily afternoon thunderstorms.
Becherano says the market will do what it can to combat the heat, adding tents, fans and misters around its picnic tables if necessary (anyone who has been here in August will agree that it’s a must). He says the market’s hours could shift, which would allow it to stay open after dark, and that he will consider adding lights if it does.
But he doesn’t expect the heat to drive away too many customers, many of whom are sure to be tourists coming to Wynwood to see the sights.
“The L.A. market opened in July, and it was 101 degrees,” he said. “And 11,000 people showed up. But we do know it’s going to get hot, so we’ll have to think about it.”
Where: 2612 NW Second Ave., Miami
Opening: March 12
Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
This story was originally published March 7, 2022 6:00 AM.