Eating Upstate

A gastronomic guide to Kingston’s Smorgasburg

The Hutton Brickyards in Kingston turned out millions of bricks from 1865 to 1980, supplying building materials to some of the most iconic structures in both the Hudson Valley and New York City (Yankee Stadium and the Empire State Building included). That said, the 10-acre industrial outpost is now almost unrecognizable from its historical presence, transforming into an outdoor pavilion, and becoming the host of Smorgasburg Upstate, the Hudson Valley’s version of the popular Brooklyn-based, open-air food and flea market.

The founders of Smorgasburg said they have been thinking about doing something in the Hudson Valley for a few years. “Bringing our movable feast to Upstate New York is the natural evolution for a company that’s been celebrating and promoting local food businesses for the past decade,” said Jonathan Butler who, along with Eric Demby, founded the Brooklyn Flea in 2008 and Smorgasburg in 2011.

“The clean up from 100 years of industrial use and 30 years of neglect has been enormous,” explained Karl Slovin, owner of The Hutton Brickyards and President of MWest Holdings. But the effort was well worth it, with the food and flea frenzy welcoming nearly 10,000 people on its August 6 opening alone. “It’s exciting to bring this amazing piece of land and history to life,” continued Slovin. “We wanted to do something on the site that talks to what is happening in the Hudson Valley, and that’s this amazing food movement.”

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Now hosting nearly 50 restaurants, artisan food purveyors of all sorts, and craft beer and cider brewers, too, Smorgasburg Upstate offers a variety of tastes from across the state. Intimidated by the choices, the history, or even the looming long lines? Don’t be. Here are some of our tips for eating your way through Smorgasburg Upstate:

Start with a standout…
The Brooklyn-based, original Ramen Burger by Keizo Shimamoto is a Smorgasburg staple. While studying ramen in Japan, Shimamoto encountered pork sandwiches with ramen buns, and an idea was born. Inspired by the burgers back home in L.A., he merged the best of both and invented the Ramen Burger – a hamburger patty sandwiched between two discs of compressed ramen noodles in lieu of a traditional bun.

With a cult-like following, just as many people line up to taste this unique burger as they do to photograph it. Samantha Slavin, a 19-year-old-student who was in town on vacation with her family in Columbia County, was thrilled that she finally got to try a Ramen Burger and snap it for her foodie Instagram account. The New York City native spoke of previously failed attempts and long lines at the original Smorgasburg. The verdict? She loved it.

Indulge in a local love affair…
Here’s an insider tip: jump on the express line at Jane’s Ice Cream for a frothy Jack & Jane’s Root Beer Float made with Keegan Ales’ Jack’s Root Beer and Jane’s vanilla ice cream. If you’re in the mood for scoops in a cup or cone, you’ll have plenty of flavors to choose from. Jane’s, the popular Kingston-based purveyor of inventive small-batch ice cream flavors, will be rotating their flavors weekly.

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Celebrate Hudson Valley-homegrown…
At Weathertop Farm in Sharon Springs, they grow and forage for fruit and tender herbs to create assorted jams and jellies. There are some classic jam flavors to choose from, like Mixed Berry, but it’s the more unique flavors that caught our attention: Rosemary Infused Cranberry Jalapeño; Raspberry; Blueberry; Lime; and Dark Chocolate Raspberry—which would taste amazing drizzled on top a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

And get your hands on regionally handmade…
Rockerbox Spice Co. sells a delicious variety of artisanal garlic powder, onion powder, and spice blends handmade in the Hudson Valley. As the granddaughter of a garlic farmer, founder Rae Rotindo prides herself on her spices. Unlike many of the mass produced garlic and onion powders on store shelves, Rockerbox Spices are 100% pure — no fillers, preservatives, flavorings, or additives of any kind — and made only from organic U.S.-grown garlic and onions.  The Original Garlic Dust tastes just like raw garlic. For a garlic lover, it can be as versatile a seasoning as salt. Flavor everything from pizza and salad dressings to sauces and vegetables, without adding texture. The Everything Bagel Blend is another standout with all the flavors and textures of your favorite “everything” bagel, in a jar.

But also check out a unique cookie from downstate…
Be sure to check out the delicious shortbread in exotic flavors owner Mai Warshafsky cooks up at New York City-based Café Warshafsky. The rich, buttery cookies are brought to life with herbs, flowers, fruits and teas. Flavors include Early Gray, Rose Water, Pink Peppercorn Lavender & Coconut, and more.

And make sure not to miss our favorite… 
Montgomery’s Borland House Bed and Breakfast owner and chef, Anna Frumes, runs the unique farm-to-table Brunch House restaurant set inside the historical home. Look for her team serving up a variety of gourmet waffles made with locally-sourced ingredients. Choose from The Original, a pearl sugar waffle topped with cream and homemade fruit compote, or get out of your comfort zone with The Sass, a red-hot, spicy waffle topped with chicken gravy and a spicy crumble. The waffles are complemented by a choice of handcrafted specialty drinks like a Hibiscus Lemonade and Sage Brown Sugar Iced Tea.

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Smorgasburg Upstate takes place every Saturday—rain or shine—through October 29 from 11 a.m. to 6.p.m.

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