Smorgasburg LA combines food and culture

Tasty buns—Shrimp and Garlic, Beef Bulgogi and Spicy Pork and Kimchi dumplings from Workaholic USA. CN/ Maria Marroquin

By Maria Marroquin

For the past four years Smorgasburg Los Angeles has been the place where Angelenos and tourists from all over gather to enjoy their Sundays. 

The massive food event originated in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2011 and was created by Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby with about 40 vendors. 

Now, the event has over 100 vendors in Brooklyn and 80-90 vendors in LA. 

The event not only has food, but also pop-up clothing shops, handmade jewelry, scented candles and a beer garden. 

The central location and huge parking garage make for a relaxing day out for Angeleno families like Maria Cabrera’s family. 

“Oh, I love it here. We have been coming for about two years with my husband and kids. As a working mom, I don’t want to worry about cooking on Sunday,” Cabrera said.

 “So, this has become our mandatory bonding time. Everyone eats what they like and we get to have fun as a family.” 

Since there are many places to choose from, some people seem to agree that the best way to experience Smorgasburg LA is to share with friends and loved ones. 

Lily Gutierrez and John Adams met online and chose Smorgasburg as their first date spot. 

“We’ve been coming here for three years now. Our first date was here, so we’ve made it a point to come ever since, and we have tried everything,” Gutierrez said.

“Yeah this is definitely a great way to remember our journey and reconnect after a busy week, plus the food is amazing! We’ve tried everything because we always each get one thing and share it,” Adams said. 

This time they chose Korean food from Workaholic USA. 

Workaholic is known for their bowl of sesame dressing salad which comes with one or more options of Mandu (dumplings). 

The beef bulgogi is a favorite among many fans because of the flavorful combination of angus beef, house marinated sauce packaged in a cabbage pocket.

The event has now grown so much that it is part of a lot of online tourist guides for LA. 

A group of friends taking a roadtrip through California purposefully stayed in the city one more day to attend Smorgasburg. 

They said they had read about it in several online publications and weren’t sure about going, but word of mouth did the trick. 

“We met someone at a bar who wouldn’t shut up about this place and we knew we had to try it,” Erik Valencia said. 

“Yeah, Mexican food isn’t all that great there (Seattle) you know? So, I am definitely happy about the places I tried here today. All over Los Angeles actually, but the combos here were ‘Ooof’ (great),” Keving Miller said. 

Miller and his girlfriend shared garlic shrimp boat from Shrimp Daddy which is essentially a pineapple cut in half filled with house flavored marinated shrimp, rice and salad. 

Mary Kelly, a member of the group, said the reason she liked the event is because it caters to more than meat eaters with plenty of vegan options. 

“I was afraid I’d have to starve or look for fruit or something because it’s not everywhere you can find a decent vegan meal, but there’s plenty of options here. Like the vegan mole nachos I got, oh my what a treat,”  Kelly said. 

Kelly opted for the food from Todo Verde, which is a plant based catering company owned and operated by women. 

The idea for Todo Verde was born when founder Jocelyn Ramirez’s father was diagnosed with cancer. 

“Jocelyn wanted to create options that are familiar but with a healthier twist. Like the horchata but with the charcoal it kinda adds health benefits, the chia seeds and using maple syrup instead of sugar or agave because it’s less sweet. So wanting to create something that’s relevant but a healthier version,” Operations & Sourcing Coordinator of Todo Verde, Brenda Cruz said.

“I love working at this event. It’s fun, we look forward to it. All the vendors are nice and there’s a lot of meat so it’s nice to provide something more fresh to people,” Cruz added. 

Smorgasburg LA is a great way to spend a Sunday. 

Perfect environment for couples, kid friendly and even though Smorgarburg website says it is not pet friendly, a lot of people bring their dogs to the event.  

The event takes place every Sunday rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Row DTLA, there is plenty of parking and the entrance is free. 

For more information visit or follow them @smorgasburgla on Instagram. 

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