When news broke in early 2014 that Anthony Bourdain was working on a New York food hall project, the internet basically exploded. And for good reason: What could be better than a massive culinary marketplace curated by Mr. International himself? After years of following his endless travels on No Reservations and Parts Unknown, fans would finally be able to taste some of the dishes they’d watched him marvel over in far-off places.
Inspired by Singapore’s famed hawker centers, bustling open-air complexes that offer a diverse array of the nation’s beloved street food, Bourdain Market is a massive undertaking: It’s said to be costing around $60 million and is promising as many as 100 different food stalls manned by vendors from around the world, as well as meat and fish counters and a sit-down restaurant; there have also been mentions of “a farmers market, an oyster bar, a rooftop beer garden, a tapas bar, and a bakery.”
Initial renderings posted to the @bourdainmarket Instagram are vague, but promising nonetheless:
Specific vendors already confirmed include the operator of the La Guerrerense tostada cart in Ensenada, Mexico, Singapore's Geylang Claypot Rice, and, more locally, NYC’s April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman (the duo behind enduring West Village hot spot Spotted Pig, among other projects). Bourdain has a lengthy wishlist of other dishes he’d like to see on offer at the market, including Hainanese chicken and rice, roast goose from Hong Kong, and Malaysian laksa.
Further ensuring that the market will be a major draw for tourists and locals alike, Bourdain has promised late-night hours; there may even be karaoke and film screenings.
So where exactly will this street food mecca be located? After months of initial rumors and speculation, in mid-2015 it was revealed that the gargantuan Bourdain Market was headed to the Meatpacking District’s Pier 57, a pier on the Hudson River that used to be a bus depot and is currently undergoing massive renovations to be transformed into a mixed-use development. (Google has already signed a lease there.)
But now, rumors are swirling that Bourdain Market may not move into Pier 57 after all: Bourdain and co. have yet to actually sign a lease there, and sources indicate the developers may be eyeing nearby Gansevoort Market as a backup plan.
In any case, it seems they’ve got plenty of time to get things worked out: Bourdain Market’s website now gives 2019 as its targeted opening date. (The market was previously projected to open in 2015, and then 2017.) Bourdain fully realizes expectations for this project are sky-high, and is determined to get it right — and beyond getting this gigantic project built, there’s also the issue of securing international visas for all the vendors.
One thing is (almost) certain, however: Whenever and wherever it finally does open, Bourdain Market will be worth the wait. In the meantime, there’s a Bourdain Market app coming in January 2017 that should help ramp up anticipation even further.
• All Bourdain Market Coverage [Eater NY]