Smorgasburg Smackdown: How to Choose Between Competing Vendors

For devoted locavores and rabid foodies, Smorgasburg is an embarrassment of riches — a confluence of established restaurants (Buttermilk Channel, Mile End, Egg), beloved trucks and pop-ups (Red Hook Lobster Pound, Bep, Choncho’s Tacos), and starry-eyed upstarts with little more than a good recipe, a flat top, and a dream — all battling for your business by serving up some of the best street eats around. Inevitably it raises a conundrum, especially now that a number of vendors have begun peddling similar products : which are worthiest of your time, money, and the ever-dwindling space in your stomach? Luckily, we’ve gone to the mat to determine the ultimate champions of chow in our first ever Smorgasburg Smackdown!


  1. 1. Baby got back isn’t real barbecue, shame on you.
    2. You got a new orleans coffee from blue bottle, not their black cold brew. Shame on you.

  2. Wow. You got this all wrong, Sarah Zorn. Is this opposite day or something?

    I don’t feel confident that you know what you are talking about. Ditto Mike’s comment #1 and 2.

  3. Blue Bottle was offering exactly one item, and that’s what I ordered. And this wasn’t a borough-wide search for the most authentic ‘cue…it was about taste, price, convenience, and service. But thank you for your passion.

  4. Not sure what the point of this article is. Seems like a waste of space. Every vendor at Smorgasburg is really good. It’s just about taste. Why turn it into a competition? Seems utterly pointless to me.

  5. Hm, mixed feelings about this. So many of the results came down to the taster’s preference. True food critics at least attempt to overcome their personal feelings about ingredients/flavors, whereas this article seems to be all about which vendors were better given the author’s personal preferences. Perhaps it should be retitled “How _I_ chose between competing vendors.”

  6. So many haters! One’s taste in food is subjective, and there are always people ready to cry foul when an opinion is given. You’re all welcome to yours…I just personally get bored when food writers unanimously recommend the same handful of places over and over again. There’s plenty of love to spread around.

  7. @Sarah
    As AJ Liebling once famously said to Pauline Kael, on the occasion of her first automat review for Saveur: “Don’t let the bastards bring you down.”

  8. And I hate to disappoint, Anne, but what exactly do you think “true food critics” base their reviews on, if not personal opinion? I can’t remember the last time one of my peers staged a focus group in the dining room…

  9. Why turn it into a competition, Warren? Because taste tests are fun, that’s why. A Hamburger Today did a completely ridiculous taste test of Five Guys vs. Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out Burger in May, 2011. Due to many complications, the competition was rendered meaningless for actually picking the best burger, but the resulting article was hysterical. Just a suggestion: do your own taste tests, tablulate your own results, and please, try to have some fun.

  10. Sarah…was hoping to see a story that listed all the options at the site…maybe even breaking down comfort foods with no thoughts on health, vegetarian stuff, fried-non fried etc. This would really help when there are so many options at that site. Even some tips on cost and size-which you touched on with the coffee- are valuable when time is short … lines are long and your stomach is growling.

  11. Appreciate the feedback, Betty. That would certainly be one massive article…that’s why the original thought was to attempt to break the Smorgasburg scene down bit by bit. Would love to tackle the subject again…whether it’s this format (there’s still Indian, gluten-free, hand pies, popsicles, tacos, condiments…the list goes on in on), or re-imagined as something else entirely. Always helps to know what readers are interested in, though!

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