For the Foodies: Miami Consumers Gorge on Smorgasburg

Tomas Curcio, Staff Writer

A new haven for food lovers has popped onto the scene in Miami, right across from Wynwood Walls. Smorgasburg Miami opened on Mar. 12, advertising itself as America’s largest weekly open-air food market. With a selection of over 60 vendors from an applicant pool of over 300 aspiring participants, each cooks a little slice of their palate and culture for the hungry masses to enjoy.

The festival has found its home in a 52,000 square foot lot that once lay vacant but now houses a colorful cast of residents. 

Originally opening in Brooklyn, New York on May 21, 2011 as a spinoff of the Brooklyn Flea market, the event soon traveled west to downtown Los Angeles before returning to the east coast to both Jersey City, Manhattan and now down south in Miami. Besides these permanent weekly locations, the event has also gone international, with annual materializations in cities such as Sao Paulo, Brazil and Osaka, Japan.

The event largely relies upon the already-popular Miami food culture, bringing in big community vendors such as Drinking Pig BBQ, Caja Caliente and Yakitori Boyz 305. But event organizers have also brought in out-of-state vendors from other Smorgasburgs nationwide, such as Nadas NYC and Broad Street Oyster Company. Despite the dense Miami food scene, Smorgasburg promises to bring new names to the mainstream rather than just rely on established local businesses.

Gaston Becherano Cohen spearheaded the translation of the Smorgasburg brand to Miami. Cohen, a proprietor of locations such as Aventura Gardens Market and Bonsai Café and a Miamian himself, viewed the event as a way to spotlight local brands and increase their popularity, both within Miami and nationally.

Alongside the opportunity to merely take part in the event, one of the 65 participating vendors will win a sponsorship to assist with initial setup costs. Behind the event, Cohen and his group, the Omotenashi Group, offer $1,500 to the winner alongside a coveted spot at Smorgasburg Miami for an entire year.

Beyond just gluttonous feasting, 10 artisan vendors will also set up at the event, selling artwork and jewelry.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Saturday.