DeKalb Market Hall is indubitably the year’s biggest opening, in every way, shape, form and, well, size.
Occupying 60 thousand-square feet of prime, downtown Brooklyn real estate, the labyrinthine basement of the City Point (itself a behemoth of big box options like Target, Century 21 and Trader Joe’s, together with Alamo Drafthouse, Fortina restaurant and a branch of Han Dynasty) is officially NYC’s most imposing indoor food court, boasting 40 quality vendors and counting. That said, here’s just a very small taste of the wealth of incredible eats improbably lurking under the street.
Katz’s Deli: While market curators remained staunch in their effort to specifically recruit lesser-known Brooklyn-based businesses, no native would quibble with this unprecedented score: the second-ever location of the iconic, circa-1888 deli, Katz’s. If history repeats itself, lines for gold standard pastrami, kasha knishes, matzah ball soup and dry-cured corned beef are sure to snake straight up the escalator, and out onto the sidewalk.
Andrew’s Classic BKLYN Bagels by Hard Times Sundaes: It’s exciting enough that Andrew Zurica has brought his smash burgers back to the borough (he started out manning a Mill Basin food truck, before hightailing it to UrbanSpace Vanderbilt). The true coup is that he’s occupied a second stand, for trying his hand at Brooklyn’s other quintessential Jewish foodstuff—bagels (which he’ll eventually make himself), schmeared with cream cheese and lox.
BK Jani: Bushwick’s grillin n’ chillin eatery transferred its Pakastani picnic concept to the market, not to mention plates piled high with chicken tikka, lamb chops, seekh kebab and spice-imbued burgers, dribbled with yogurt and mint raita.
Bun-ker: Originally situated in Ridgewood, Bun-ker’s fully pledged itself to Brooklyn with a sprawling location in Bushwick (where it grows its own mushrooms, thanks to its neighbor’s hydroponic farm), and this more compact spot, where it still takes advantage of its mushroom bounty (for a Havarti and peanut pesto banh mi), offered alongside shrimp chips, papaya salad and chicken pho.
Lioni Heroes: The market reached deep into the heart of Brooklyn (make that old school Italian Bensonhurst), in order to procure the very best heroes—not subs or hoagies, mind you—in New York. Expect an exact replica of the original’s 150-sammy strong list, including the “Alyssa Milano” (chicken cutlet, fresh mozzarella, prosciutto de parma, basil mix) on a Cammareri Bros. loaf.
Pierogi Boys: Armed with their grandma’s recipe, these food industry newcomers have come out of the gate strong with an irreproachable product: supple Polish pasta pockets, engorged with mashed potato, sauerkraut and cheese.
Wilma Jean: What’s a food market without fried chicken? And who do you call when seeking out the borough’s best bird? Deep South native Rob Newton, of course—who honed his recipe at Seersucker, before perfecting it at Carroll Gardens’ more casual Wilma Jean. That same brand now boasts an offshoot offering shaved collard greens, pimento cheese, and fried chicken on a stick.
Pop Cake Shop: While cups of cookie dough may be NYC’s au courant trending dessert, we’re betting these customizable, cake and cream-filled push pops (choose from bases like vanilla and red velvet, fillings such as crushed Oreos and fruity pebbles, and toppings such as chocolate frosting and cream cheese) will quickly cut them down to size.