Tap Water Is All the Rage
Alice Waters and her Chez Panisse family aren't the only ones ditching fancy bubbly and spring waters to join the pro-faucet movement. As we reported earlier this year, progressive Bay Area restaurants are risking serious cash flow to help cut the overproduction of plastic bottles and the destructive effects it has on municipal garbage operations. Despite many assumptions that tap water is grimy and laced with fatal chemicals, more and more city officials have reported that municipal water supplies are just as good (and safe) as the fancy bottled stuff, if not better. Sorry, Evian.
Yesterday's Chicago Tribune had a great, well-researched report by national correspondent Stevenson Swanson about the issue, highlighting the work of West Coast mayors Gavin Newsom of San Francisco and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, who have "issued executive orders prohibiting the use of city money to buy bottled water." New York City restaurants like Del Posto (the joint venture between Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich) are following their West Coast lead.
The restaurant is installing about $20,000 in equipment that will turn New York tap water into still and carbonated mineral water. In the process, the restaurant will be sacrificing the hefty profits that come from selling a $2 bottle of water for $6 or $8.
Speaking of money, how much can we, as recovering bottled-water snobs, save? About "$1,400 yearly," according to a New York Times report last week. That's a whole lotta cash. Think of all the juicy burgers we could buy.
Photograph from iStockPhoto.com
About the author: Erin Zimmer, Serious Eats's Washington, D.C., correspondent, is a just-graduated Georgetown gal following her nose about town as Washingtonian magazine's Dining intern and Best Bites blogger. She got her start as the Hoya campus paper's food columnist, and since entering "real person-hood" has ached for her dining hall's omelet station.