It has been a long time since the once-busy Hutton Brickyard in Kingston has seen much activity. The rusted buildings and piles of bricks near Kingston Point are relics of the city’s industrial past. But while the structures and other vestiges of its history are staying put, the long-unused waterfront property is undergoing some huge transformations. On Saturday, August 6, Smorgasburg Upstate will revitalize the barren lot, bringing an array of craft, vintage and – most importantly – food vendors.
While this will be the first season 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 in 2008. In Brooklyn, Smorgasburg “showcases 100 local and regional food vendors to upwards of 10,000 visitors per day,” according to Smorgasburg Upstate’s website. It has been described by The New York Times as “the Woodstock of Eating,” and now it’s making its way a little closer to Woodstock.
When Smorgasburg Upstate opens on the ten-acre waterfront property, it “will feature some of the Hudson Valley and upstate region’s most exciting chefs, food purveyors and craft brewers alongside a curated selection of handmade design, vintage clothing and antiques,” according to its organizers. In addition to the upstate options, there will also be a few Brooklyn food vendors, like Lumpia Shack, which serves what it calls “Filipino-inspired spring rolls,” and the culinary curiosity Ramen Burger, which sandwiches its burger patties between buns made of ramen noodles.
But, says Jonathan Butler, he anticipates that the Kingston location will be “95 percent upstate vendors.” Butler is keeping mum about the list for now, with Smorgasburg Upstate planning to release the names gradually on its Instagram in the weeks leading up to the market’s opening. He did reveal, however, that visitors can expect approximately 75 vendors at the market, and that it is still accepting applications.
Butler says that Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg founders had been “thinking about doing something upstate” when Karl Slovin of California-based MWest Holdings approached them about starting a market at the site of the old brickyards. The location was ideal, because, as Butler says, “Kingston is very central,” noting that it is within 45 minutes of most other upstate hubs. Butler adds that the “beautiful” buildings and structures that remain on the property were another factor in Smorgasburg’s decision to open a market there. “The time was right to create something of a hub for food and handmade [goods],” says Butler. He anticipates the market being “both a showcase for all the great food up there and a big family-friendly weekly event.”
Before that can happen, however, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. The market was originally expected to open in June, but the opening has been pushed to August while the team takes measures to ensure the safety and functionality of the space. Though the renovations are taking longer than anticipated, Smorgasburg and its partners certainly haven’t lost any enthusiasm for the project. “An adaptive reuse project on the Hudson River was exciting to us,” says Butler. He values the property’s unique location as well. When the work is done, visitors will be able to enjoy their food in a scenic spot a mere ten feet from the Hudson River.
Smorgasburg Upstate, Saturdays, 11 a.m.-sundown, August-October, 200 North Street, Kingston; www.upstate.smorgasburg.com.