Friday, June 25, 2010

Fanciest Unfancy Food Show around

By Alex Rush

Has Brooklyn’s annual “Unfancy Food Show” finally sold out?

The gathering of indie food purveyors claims to shun the corporate, mass-produced evilness of the other annual eats exhibition this Sunday at the Javits Center, but the vendors’ products are actually pretty damn fancy.

Yes, the 30-plus participants in the June 27 event are all small businesses, but so are many at this month’s Fancy Food Show in West Brooklyn.

And it may not be at a huge convention center or draw a crowd of 24,000 people, but the Unfancy Food Show has gone big-time this year, moving into the cavernous Bell House — much larger digs than their previous ventures in the back yard of the East River Bar in Williamsburg.

For the organizers, the underdog spirit of the event hasn’t changed, as the Unfancy Food Show provides an inexpensive way for up-and-coming local vendors to pimp their products to the public.

“For us, it’s always been about showcasing the vendors,” said Annaliese Griffin, a food writer who runs the event along with her husband, Tom Mylan, of the Meat Hook in Williamsburg. “When we started this four years ago, none of the vendors were big enough to go to the Fancy Food Show. Over time, they have gotten to be real successful businesses and able to go to the Fancy Food Show, but they’re still ‘unfancy’ at heart.”

What does that mean? Beer, mainly, as drinking is customary at the Unfancy Food Show, fueled by a more laid-back atmosphere than its Manhattan counterpart.

After paying a $5 cover, attendees can guzzle down their own $3 Brooklyn Lager tallboys, hear a couple of live bands and scarf down free samples of the artisanal fare. The specialty foods, including breads from SCRATCHbread (pictured) popsicles made from organic, greenmarket-sourced fruit and $14 per pound ricotta cheese with a twist of lemon juice, will also be on sale for those with some extra cash in their pockets. We also think chocolates from the Boerum Hill-based Nunu are definitely worth a splurge.

“It’s a great event. We really feel connected to the specialty food community,” said Andy Laird, who co-owns Nunu with his wife, and will be one of the show’s musical acts. “It’s our third year doing it.”

In addition to selling a slew of items, Nunu will also be doling out free samples of their chocolate-dipped salted caramels and a South African chocolate liqueur called amarula. So eat up, and don’t bother with the pricey Manhattan food fest starting up the same day.

The Unfancy Food Show at The Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], June 27, noon to 5 pm. Tickets $5. For info, visit


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