Dekalb Market in Brooklyn
Have you ever wondered what happens to the old shipping containers once they’ve outlived the uses for which they were built? Some folks turn them into homes like these. For Urban Space, the organizers of several of the markets in New York City, it meant launching a design competition using shipping containers as the storefronts for its newest location, the Dekalb Market in Brooklyn. Yesterday, I dropped by to check it out and to see what was going on over there.
The main entrance of the market has the containers that contain food merchants. What better welcome is there than to be greeted by Robicelli’s Cupcakes when you get off of the subway. That makes the trip from Manhattan with the Q train stopping and starting every few minutes so worth it. Just a few of their uniquely-flavored, delicious cupcakes, and all of your troubles and the stress of the subway will drift away.
Not all that into cupcakes, how about munching on one of their brownies instead? I first had a chance to try them at the Northside Market. These are more the fudgy kind, with flavors that are more grown-up than those you had as a kid. They also have one of my other favorite things that they do: whoopie pies. Moist, rich chocolate cake with a schmear of their wonderful buttercream in several different flavors. I picked up a few to take away with me for later.
The shop is warm and inviting with a bench to sit on while enjoying your purchases. They are also selling Kitty Lee Thomas‘ marshmallows in their store in several different flavors. Now that I had my sugar fix filled, I was ready to take on the rest of the market. Joe the Art of Coffee is just across the entranceway from the Robicelli’s. It looked like quite a few folks still needed to get their caffeine fix for the morning, too.
Along with Joe, you could have found Cuzin’s Duzin Donuts to start off your morning at the market just right. Other options for dining included the creations, both breakfast and lunch style from the folks at Cheeky Sandwiches. It was so hard to resist, but I was meeting up later with a friend, so I had to pass on them this time.
What is nice about this market is that there’s a bit of something for everyone. Nile Valley has an eco-juice and salad bar with some delicious-sounding vegan options on its menu. I saw several sets of folks on line waiting to try out their offerings. Next to them was Mazie’s International Soul. My mouth was watering as I saw the list of their options: pulled pork sandwich, fish tacos, sides of mac-n-cheese. Next time I visit, I will not have follow-on plans to be elsewhere.
The market is home to more than just great food stalls, there are crafts, live music, and cooking demonstrations. I happened to be there when the Chef Shana of Mazie’s was walking everyone through how to make collard greens without needing to use a ham hock. One of their tricks is to heat the olive oil until it gets a bit smoky and then to throw in lots of garlic. I had to get to my next destination so I couldn’t stick around to see all of their tips, but the collard greens at their stand are also on my list of things to try.
Too cool down, there were also several options, not the least of which was a cart from Brooklyn Brewery. Another cart had tropical ice pops dipped in chocolate to bring down the temperatures a bit. I also got to see the guys from Wooly’s Ice for the second time in a week. They had great toppings to choose from for their shaved ice creations. Tea by Tiffany also looked like another refreshing choice.
This market already seems to be a hit with the neighborhood after just one week in business. Unlike some of the other ones that I usually go to, this is designed to be a year-round, seven-day-a-week venture. The vendors and the organizers have made a huge investment to pull this together as a way of revitalizing what had been a vacant space in the middle of Brooklyn. I’m curious to see what other merchants will be there as this market grows.