Crown Heights Residents Are Skeptical About Coming Smorgasburg Branch

  • Donny Tsang

With Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea’s ever-expanding food empire set to move into Crown Heights soon, locals are concerned that co-founder Jonathan Butler’s planned new space on Dean Street will edge out existing local eateries.

“I want to know whether it would affect any of the small business owners who’ve been here and helped build this community,” said Candy Rush co-owner Garnett Phillip at a Community Board 8 meeting last week. “Have you taken the time to visit us?”

Butler (who also founded Brownstoner) and his colleagues purchased a local warehouse earlier this year, and have since acquired a liquor license and a planned stable of Brooklyn Flea vendors who are set to provide food for the space.

“You can get a beer from the bar and say ‘I feel like having brisket tonight’ or tacos, whatever the selections may be,” explained Butler. “We’re also creating a courtyard in the middle of it. The third piece will be a small private dining and events space.”

It’s unclear currently if the new venue will strictly use Flea vendors or incorporate food from nearby businesses as well, and Phillip said, “I love what they’re doing as long as they take the time out to consider what’s already here. I want to be sure that it’s not going to diminish storefronts like ours — that it’s not going to crush us.”

Food being food and Brooklyn being Brooklyn, we have a feeling there will be more than enough demand to go around.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.

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