Smorgasburg Founders Opening Beer Hall, 'Foodie Hub'

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Brooklyn's foodie empire expands
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Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby, the founders of the five-year-old Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, the outdoor weekend food market, are expanding their dominion over Brooklyn’s artisanal food scene into the brick-and-mortar world by opening a beer hall in a warehouse in Crown Heights.

According to a profile in the New York Times, the duo’s 9,000-square-foot, Smorgasburg-branded beer hall will feature products from the market’s vendors. It will also be attached to an adjacent, 150,000-square-foot project in the former Studebaker Service Station, which Butler is renovating with the help of a $25 million investment from Goldman Sachs.

The ground floor of Butler’s new operation in the Studebaker Station will also be the home of a new “food incubator” with kitchens and educational spaces to create what Butler calls “a real foodie hub.” Construction is scheduled to begin in a few weeks.

The announcement comes after news that Smorgasburg would be partnering with Whole Foods to put pop-up markets and vendors in some of the chain's stores, but Butler and Demby say they aren’t worried about getting too corporate.

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“I don’t think people begrudge you trying to make a buck,” Butler told the Times’ Liz Robbins. “Luckily, everything we’ve done is a win-win thing.”