Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Vendy Plaza at La Marqueta, Sundays from Noon-6:00PM  at East 116th and Park Avenue.  Move over Smorgasborg!  Foodies in Manhattan now have an outdoor dining destination that has a wonderful mix of old and new flavors of Harlem.  The revival of La  Marqueta in East Harlem has become a reality based on the successful late Spring launch this past weekend of Vendy Plaza.  El Barrio's traditional market place under the Metro North tracks had hundreds of vendors a few decades ago but by the 80s the decline of the city pretty much shut things down.  With a new $3 million investment from the city,  the outdoor market now has several fully seated platforms along with lighting and electricity which showcases up to a couple of dozen food vendors each week during the warm weather seasons.

This was actually the second event of spring but had all of the locals and politicians out in full force including Mayor de Blasio.  We arrived shortly after noon and by 1:00PM the block was buzzing with curious, hungry food shoppers and longtime locals just hanging out.  What is great about the mix of food sellers at Vendy Plaza is that there are quite a few vendors from the old El Barrio neighborhood represented selling traditional roasted pork, empanadas and rice dishes alongside newer ventures such as the specialty biscuit bakery, wood oven pizza or Indian samosa stand.

There were also traditional Harlem offerings such as southern barbecue, Jamaican flavored soul food from Mighty Edibles and the absolutely refreshing cold press watermelon juice from the guys at H2Melon.  A strong majority of uptown merchants were on hand but the coconut guy from Buschwick gets a shout out for cracking the fresh fruit open with a special hammer that puts a hole in the shell which perfectly fits a straw.  Beer and wine are also served on site for those who want a little bit more out of their afternoon but we were too busy checking out all of the delicious food options.

For a Sunday culinary adventure, we highly recommend Vendy Plaza and really see this new incarnation of La Marqueta growing even bigger in the next few years.  The Urban Garden Center is also just on the north side of the block so there are many reason to drop by for a couple of hours on the historic site and tasting a few of specialties at the plaza is definitely more pocket friendly than heading out for a tradtional brunch.


  1. This looks fun and look at the cutie in the first picture. nice

    1. oh, he has the best eyes and his ground beef empanada is delicious too!

    2. I'll have to check out those empanadas.