Is the transformation of DUMBO from artist-occupied post-industrial waterfront into glitzy eating/shopping/tourist destination now fully complete? Probably not—developers always seem to find more things to build—but the opening of the ambitious, 21,000-square-foot Time Out Market in the Empire Stores complex seems like something of a milestone for the neighborhood.
Taking up a sizeable chunk across two floors of the historic waterfront warehouse (which is already filled with offices, a high-end mall, restaurants, and members only club Dumbo House), the sprawling Time Out Market features an impressive, genuinely exciting roster of 21 different vendors. Most featured here have never done one of these now-ubiquitous food halls before. Here's everything you need to know about the place, which opens tomorrow (Friday, May 31st).
Everything at the Market is ordered counter-service style—those handheld flashing buzzers announce when your food is ready—with lots of seating at communal tables or on stools fronting each individual booth. It's all prepared to stay, served on actual dishware, which obviously reduces waste by the ton but also means you can't take it out to the park for a picnic. True al fresco fiends should head right on up to the fifth floor, where there are four food options, a bar, and a prime piece of the building's very pleasant roof deck reserved for Market-goers.
The menus at most places are mercifully pared down to about six dishes, and really, the whole place works for just about any dining situation, whether dining solo, or on a date, or with a crew looking to share a bunch of stuff. It's also obviously family-friendly, food-wise, though we'll have to see how packed those aisles get if everyone starts crashing through with strollers. There are multiple bars as well.
There are strong choices everywhere you turn. The often-experimental, always-excellent Ice and Vice, for example, is preparing exclusive sundaes for the Market (the Banana Hammock one is delicious), and making milkshakes for the first time, as well as scooping a variety of both their classic and seasonal flavors. Fort Greene's Miss Ada is serving their superb mezze and puffy pitas, and Alta Calidad of Prospect Heights brings its unique fusion of Mexican and Indian flavors in an array of rotis, tacos, and tortas.
If the line's too long at Juliana's pizza up on Old Fulton Street (and, invariably, it is), you can now grab a personal-size 11" pie from them here. Pat LaFrieda is grilling Cheesesteaks and Double Stack Burgers, the great Mr. Taka of Allen Street brings its rich bowls of ramen to the party (including a refreshing Cold Lemon Ramen for summer), and, also from the Lower East Side, Clinton Street Bakery is here with their famous pancakes and other delights from across the river.
The stylish Bessou from Bleecker Street gave me probably the best single dish of the two preview parties I attended, deep-fried triangles of Crispy Rice topped with raw fish. Breads Bakery has three concepts here, one of which sells giant Jerusalem Bagel sandwiches (and Bagel French Toast!), and another with a case of dome-shaped Dombo pastries, a Breads' Market exclusive, in a variety of flavors. Upper West Side hero Jacob's Pickles will fill you up in a hurry with their absurdly large Honey Chicken Biscuit Sandwich, or play it healthy with the superfood bowls and smoothies at Loco Coco. And Thai-food favorite Fish Cheeks from Bond Street will get your forehead sweating (in a good way) with their potent curries, soups, and salads.
There's plenty more food at Time Out Market, but I'll let you discover the others on your own. As you can tell from the above, this is not an "incubator" situation like Smorgasburg, or even the Urbanspace markets. These are well-established chefs and restaurants, gathered together in a huge industrial-chic space with Brooklyn Bridge views, in an area that already gets a ton of foot traffic. Expect crowds.
Time Out Market is located at 55 Water Street in DUMBO, on the first and fifth floor of the Empire Stores building, with additional entrances on Old Dock Street and Empire Fulton Ferry Park. It's open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weeknights, and from 8 until midnight on Friday and Saturday.