Eco-nom-nom-nomics: Brooklyn food scene drives our economy

Not just a biscuit, but a driver of our economic engine. Photo by Sarah Gainer
Not just a biscuit, but a driver of our economic engine. Photo by Sarah Gainer

Those lengua tacos that you and your foodie friends found out about from the people who know those things is just the tip of iceberg in Brooklyn. A new report from the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce shows that the borough’s “Food Chain”—the sum total of all of our groceries, restaurants, cafes and food manufacturers—makes up for a whopping 12.5% of BK’s private jobs. That means that one in eight of the businesses in the borough is dedicated to bringing you gustatory bliss by way of bone marrow, vegan comfort food and Counter Culture coffee, along with every other conceivable ethnic and regional specialty and cuisine.

Sure, when Anthony Bourdain rolled through for the final episode of No Reservations, the greater world got to see the locally-touted pleasures of Blanca, Brooklyn Fare and Gloria’s, down Crown Heights way, but he didn’t even mention our badass baking efforts. According to the report, half of our food manufacturing consists of Those That Leaven, accounting for about 30,800 of the nearly 59,000 food folk working within the borders. Of course, all these numbers revolve around whatever is reported, and if there’s one industry that we know keeps hard tallies on their employees, it’s food service.

Basically, if you live in Brooklyn, you know that you can get any kind of food at virtually any time you like. The rest of the world is just catching up with us…as represented by the fact that nearly a quarter of our food production is now exported outside of the US. Which comes out to $134 million in hard currency, but also means that your chances of scoring some Rick’s Picks Phat Beets in London in the next couple years has shot up significantly. So yay for that.


  1. Richard Huffman

    To live in Brooklyn and just enjoy the great things that are happing at this time of the year and to enjoy all the great kinds of different foods, what a great city.

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