LOS ANGELES — Smorgasburg is the largest open-air food market in the country and it is finally reopening in Los Angeles this weekend. When it closed during the pandemic, it left dozens of small food vendors without a place to sell. But now that it is back, new pop-ups are excited to get their chance, while others aren’t returning and are instead focusing on new ventures.
Noelle Ramirez, owner of S'moreology, is grateful to now have a large prep space to cut her marshmallows saying, “You have no idea. From my kitchen counter to this, it’s so much nicer.”
Her unique s'mores business started in her home where she would make the marshmallows and graham crackers by hand to sell at Smorgasburg every Sunday. Last time Spectrum News 1 visited their stand in 2019 it drew large crowds, a following they still have today.
“I feel like if we didn’t have Smorgasburg, we would have never had this shop,” Ramirez said.
When the fest shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, Ramirez thought she would have to close her business. But with the help of her wife, they pivoted to ship s'mores kits locally and around the country, which, along with the growing demand, spurred the creation of their first brick and mortar location.
“It was a blessing. Our shipping took off and then on top of it, we now have a storefront that we see the same clientele that would visit us at Smorgasburg,” Ramirez said.
Now that the state is opening and Smorgasburg is returning on July 4, Ramirez with her new permanent location actually decided not to go back.
“We felt that it was really important to give our spot to someone else so they can test out their concept and see if they can soon one day open up a shop,” Ramirez said.
This is actually the goal for Shanna Milazzo, owner of Picnic. She started her Italian sandwich pop-up during the pandemic and was always a customer of Smorgasburg, eager to sell her cold cut heroes with handmade Grecco dressing. She is prepping in a kitchen space to get ready to sell on-site in Downtown LA on Sunday for the first time saying she has, “Butterflies for sure and excitement.”
Milazzo has been selling at bars, markets and breweries the past year, but she says there is something special about being at Smorgasburg. It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else.
“The amount of people that will come to review you, that maybe wouldn’t come to review you if you were at a smaller place, the foot traffic, it will open doors hopefully for us and everyone else,” Milazzo said.
From the dozens of new concepts, such as Picnic, to returning favorites, Milazzo said this food event for your enjoyment is actually life changing for the small business owners.
“It feels like the perfect step towards my future, towards growing my business. It’s an honor to be included with so many other vendors who have already been there and to just be grouped into that whole genre of people is amazing,” Milazzo said.
Grab a delicious bite and support local every Sunday at Smorgasburg from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Row DTLA at 777 S. Alameda St. Los Angeles, CA.