The Case of the Smorgasburg Vendor and the Tricks They May Be Playing on Us


New Yorkers are experts at complaining about things. It’s one of the many things we do well. At foodie heaven Smorgasburg, our expert complaints usually concern the long wait for food because, well, have you seen how long some of those lines stretch? They can get pretty unreasonable&#8212but is that just because the vendors want it that way?

In a recent post for GQ, esteemed food writer Alan Richman recounts a recent experience where, after being pleasantly surprised to find BBQ slinger Mighty Quinn’s line-free right after gates opened during a trip to Smorgasburg DUMBO, he walked up and placed an order. He was then informed that he wouldn’t be served until a line had formed, and his “best bet [would be] to start one.”

So there he was, needlessly waiting around, presumably a pawn in a plan to gently assure his fellow Smorgasburg patrons that Mighty Quinn’s is worth their time. “A line started forming behind me,” he writes. “After five minutes, it numbered 20. Not good enough for [the vendor]. The awful woman began taunting her customers. ‘Soooo close,’ she cooed. ‘Soooo close.’ Soon there were 25 people in line plus three baby carriages.”

In a game of he-said, she-said, Mighty Quinn’s copartner Micha Magid has responded to Richman’s allegations, explaining to Gothamist, “We do not try to create a line. We believe in our products and we serve quality food. It takes time to prepare, everything is sliced to order. We always go as fast as we can. … We make one sandwich every 30 seconds to a minute; that’s the fastest we can go. We don’t wait for a line to open or a line to start before we start serving. All I can say is that it’s just not true. It’s never been our policy and I can’t imagine that that was actually the quote. I have to imagine that we were still in the process of getting set up.”

Hmm. Conflicted! Here’s the moral takeaway on our end, since that’s the closest we’re probably going to get to the Truth in this case: We’re at fault for building a mind-set where if there’s no hype&#8212and subsequent hassle&#8212a thing can’t possibly be any good. (BBQ is nearly always good.)

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