Attracting millions of visitors every year, Smorgasburg began in Brooklyn in 2011 and has become the largest weekly open-air food market in America. After spinning off to Manhattan and Los Angeles, it landed this summer in Jersey City.
The outdoor market is home to more than 30 vendors from New Jersey and (in a rare crossing of rivers) New York. From dumplings (Destination Dumplings) to tacos (Carlitos) to chai tea (Mod Chai), there is no lack of variety.
Smorgasburg Jersey City will run every Saturday through the end of October. A garage next to the Smorgasburg lot makes parking fret-free. There is outdoor seating in the area with tables, benches and chairs set up next to the Smorgasburg lot, and the event is held rain or shine.
Smorgasburg is home to the first Smorgasbar, located a block away with a view of Manhattan across the Hudson. The bar serves cocktails (such as Passion Fruit Mojitos) and local beers. It also hosts a daily happy hour from 3–7 pm.
When you arrive, take a lap around the parking lot to savor the smells and take stock of the range of options. No two tents are alike.
For example, Nadas puts their own spin on Colombian empanadas. Each is a different color. Not only do they look appetizing, they’re gluten-free (some are vegan) and filled with flavors such as Guava Cheese, Blueberry Goat Cheese, Black Bean, Sweet Pepper and more.
La New Yorkina, specializing in Mexican ices, offers what it calls a Chamoyoda—your choice of mango or pineapple ice topped with chamoy (a variety of savory condiments made from pickled fruit). The sweet and salty duo of ice and spice is curiously satisfying.
At the heart of Smorgasburg is people with a passion for food, such as the Anderson sisters from Edison. Their company, Anderson’s Ice Cream, spent time at the market this summer, serving some not-so-typical flavors. I had the chance to try their Ube ice cream—it was creamy, soft, and packed with a nutty, vanilla flavor.
Mid-pandemic, the Andersons, Ashleigh and Samantha, bought an ice cream machine and began developing their own recipe. They began selling their product to raise money for the Black Lives Matter movement and realized they may have whipped up something special.
“[Edison] is a fairly diverse town,” says Ashleigh, “and we found a gap in the market for Asian flavors of ice cream. We wanted to represent other cultures. We root our flavors in community and culture.”
The Anderson flavor list changes regularly, bringing in novel options such as Vietnamese Coffee Crunch, West African Lime Cake, Lychee Yuzu Swirl Sorbet and Mexican Hot Chocolate.
The sisters have been at Smorgasburg all summer but ended their run early due to Ashleigh traveling to London for school. Keep an eye on their Instagram to see how you can pick up their ice cream locally.
As for their time at Smorgasburg, the Anderson sisters beamed with pride when talking about their neighboring vendors.
“The community at Smorgasburg was so awesome,” says Ashleigh. “It was really like one big family.”
Smorgasburg takes place at 200 Greene St. in Jersey City every Saturday from 11 am–6 pm until October 31. Smorgasbar is located at 3 Second St. and opens at 3 pm on weekdays and noon on weekends. Check the Anderson’s Ice Cream website to stay updated on pint restocks.Click here to leave a comment