After months of building anticipation on Instagram, with tantalizing photos of food and shots of the Hutton Brickyard’s haunting beauty, Smorgasburg Upstate will unveil its eclectic selection of culinary delights and vendors in Kingston on Saturday, August 6. While this will be the debut of Smorgasburg in the Hudson Valley, the food market is already in its sixth year in Brooklyn. It began as an offshoot of Brooklyn Flea, a flea market founded by Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby, and it has grown into what the New York Times described as “the Woodstock of Eating.”
In Brooklyn, Smorgasburg “showcases 100 local and regional food vendors to upwards of 10,000 visitors per day,” according to its organizers. Thus far, Smorgasburg Upstate lists 70 vendors – including 40 food vendors and 30 vendors that fall under the umbrella category of “lifestyle,” which includes both vintage wares and handcrafted items. While a few New York City food businesses will be present, the market will primarily be comprised of local vendors. The list includes popular restaurants like Terrapin and Santa Fe, alongside sauce purveyors like Horseshoe Brand and tincture-makers such as the Stockade Farm & Apothecary. “It’s 90 percent upstate or Hudson Valley,” says Smorgasburg’s Jonathan Butler. “We very specifically want to make it a celebration and showcase for what’s happening upstate.”
The vendors will gather for the first time on Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. until sundown on the ten-acre lot of the former Hutton Brickyards in Kingston. Getting the old industrial site into shape for the opening has been no easy task. Karl Slovin, president of California-based MWest Holdings, which owns the Hutton Brickyards, says, “We’ve been working pretty diligently during the last year with the City of Kingston to reenvision the entire site. [Smorgasburg] is the first step in a longer-term project.”
Thus far, the work has involved restoring three of the eight buildings, installing new roofing, windows and electrical components as needed and adding restrooms for the public. They’ve also added gravel parking lots and nighttime lighting, and ensured that the site, which had been in “pretty poor condition,” according to Slovin, was made safe and functional.
MWest’s development crew plans to continue work on the site. “The iconic drying sheds are still in very difficult shape,” says Slovin, who says that the sheds are not open for use as the company tries to determine how they can be preserved. At the moment, they’re turning their attention to two brick buildings in need of repair. The next step, says Slovin, might be a restaurant. “I would love to see people actually making things here on the site,” he says, noting the lot’s history as the maker of bricks for “half of the buildings in New York.”
While the work is ongoing, the old brickyards already have a lot to offer with Smorgasburg making its appearance. “What Jonathan and Eric [of Smorgasburg] have been tremendously successful at is at creating an excitement and a sense of place.” Slovin hopes that their involvement will help draw attention to the long-unused site, helping it grow into “a gathering place.”
“We’re looking forward to seeing everybody this weekend,” he says. “After three years of work, it will be fascinating to finally see people interact with the site.”
Smorgasburg Upstate, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-sundown, August-October, 200 North Street, Kingston; upstate.smorgasburg.com.