SOUTH STREET SEAPORT — The South Street Seaport gulped, slurped and sizzled back to life Memorial Day weekend with the launch of a summer-long outdoor food and beer garden called SmorgasBar.
Curated by the people behind the ever-popular Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, the Seaport lineup includes 10 Brooklyn-based, artisanal food vendors serving lobster rolls, oysters, grilled cheese, hot dogs with Asian-style toppings, maple bacon sticks and more.
A bar inside a shipping container pours craft beers, wine, cocktails and “boozy slushies” by Kelvin Natural Slush Co.
“This is awesome,” said Hans Lanz, 57, a New Jersey resident who with his wife stumbled across the market Monday and decided to stay for some beer and wood-fired-oven pizza. “This place is going to be packed — it’s going to buzz.”
The food flea includes eight stalls, two carts and the bar, as well as dozens of tables with seating for hundreds in a roped-off, cobblestoned section of Front Street from Fulton to Beekman streets.
It is scheduled to run daily through October from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m., and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
SmorgasBar’s vendor lineup may rotate; the market’s website says the current crew is set for just the first two weeks.
The temporary beer garden and food court is part of a larger effort by the Seaport’s developer, Howard Hughes Corporation, to lure visitors back to the waterfront destination after severe Hurricane Sandy flooding caused much of it to shut down.
The effort, called See/Change, promises a series of outdoor movies, concerts, art exhibits and shipping container-enclosed pop-up shops, several of which are to be run by Brooklyn Flea-selected retailers.
“It will hopefully bring people here who want to see something new, rather than shying away from somewhere they thought might be a vestige of its former self,” said Dave Sclarow, owner of Pizza Moto, one of the food vendors.
Nathaniel Clay, 36, who lives a few blocks from the Seaport, shared some oysters and Brooklyn Pilsner beer with a friend at the outdoor market on sunny Memorial Day.
He said the hundreds of visitors that day to SmorgasBar had breathed some life back to the Seaport, which since the storm had felt like “a mix between a Hollywood movie set and a ghost town.”
“I think a lot of people around here were waiting for something like this happen,” he said.