HUG A TREE

September 11th, 2008

Worried about bottled water or contaminated tap? Fret no more! Restaurateur Robert Colombo has blazed a green trailby installing the first Natura water purification system in Texas inThe Club, Villa O and soon, Trece. The system uses local tap water, which is purified through a three-step process, producing a water-snob approved eau in sparkling or still.
The Club. 3102 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste.110, 214.526.3100; Villa O, 4514 Travis St., 214.780.1880.

Dallas Modern Luxury

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The New Flat Tax

September 11th, 2008

Yes, it’s true. L.A. restaurants are now charging for tap water. By playing on customers’ healthy-living fixations of the moment—parts-per-billion H20 hysteria and globalwarming-consciousness—owners are convincing diners to pony up previously unheard-of fees for each bottle to offset the cost of running their recently acquired Natura filtration machines. Since last fall, fresh carriers of the Brita-like system include Comme Ça (charging $5 per bottle), Il Grano ($6), Luckyfish ($3), Akasha ($5) and Foxtail ($3). The bottles themselves have been shrewdly sculpted as Voss-like status symbols “I wanted to set the tone high,” says Natura cofounder, Marco De Plano. A number of the restaurants say they’ve chosen to attach a price primarily in order to recoup on Natura’s monthly rental cost, which can peak at up to $500. “People may give you a weird look when you bring it out,” says Angeli Caffé manager Jason Marx, “but when you tell them about how it reduces our carbon footprint, they really get behind it.” In fact, local foodies tallying their bills at places like Lucques and Ortolan have already grown accustomed to chipping in donations each March for the L.A. Tap Project, which supports UNICEFs efforts to provide access to potable water around the world. Still, it’s crystalclear that only a few nights’ worth of water tabs could easily cover the relatively modest Natura fee. The rest? Purified profit. Talk about liquid assets.

-Carrissa Marsh
Angeleno

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A Toast to Eco-Friendly Bottled Water

September 3rd, 2008

It began as a normal dinner at the new BLT Steakhouse in Los Angeles when a fidgety waiter with spiky hair and smart spectacles addressed the table with that signature question, “Still or sparkling?” For almost a generation, bottled water has been the nouveau-champagne of the high-end dining circuit. At the most fashionable dinner parties and restaurants, a well-placed bottle of Fiji or San Pellegrino wasn’t just a drinking choice but the embodiment of a healthy and sophisticated lifestyle. And then the end came.

A crowd dotted with Prius-driving movie people and hemp-wearing writers began specifying “tap water” with an air of pride that had evolved from embarrassed whimpers at the beginning of the antibottled water movement. Requests for tap water usually were greeted with a blank stare from staff well aware that frequently poured bottled water can add almost 15% to the average dinner check and tip. But this particular time there was no roll of the eyes. A few seconds later on the table arrived a selection of stylish, chunky water bottles — the sort of fancy Italian kind that usually costs $10 and requires two hands to pass around.

Those at the table stared in silence. Guests were left speechless as they pondered the enormous carbon footprint of transporting such heavy bottles across the ocean atop double-tailored diesel trucks with heavy-footed drivers and into the basement of this L.A. restaurant. When the waiter was asked about the mistake, he informed the table that it was Natura Water, an in-house water filtration system that provides bottled water from an on-site tap. Essentially, it was filtered, carbonated water from the tap, but really delicious and served in trendy re-usable water bottles. The table drank, and then drank some more, quietly loving its bottled water all over again while marveling at what could be the greenest innovation ever to hit the water world.

Natura Water was invented by Italians and engineered in America. It’s the only on-site water purification system currently on the market offering chilled sparkling and still water. Previous carbonated systems tended to lack a good design, looking more like explosive helium canisters that could get one placed on the government’s No Fly List.

The Natura Water system is sleek and chic, and offers a variety of stainless-steel water filtration models that look like a hybrid espresso machine with three minimalist pull-down dispensers. The models are offered on a rental or purchase basis, depending on the size and needs of the business or residence.

The inner filtration system of Natura Water is supplied from the everyday water line rerouted into the machine and its two high-grade carbon filters that remove dirt, rust, sediments, chlorine and contaminants like lead or mercury. From there, the freshly filtered water flows through an ultraviolet disinfection chamber that kills 99.99% of all microorganisms and germs. The final step of the filtration system takes place in the refrigeration and carbonation chamber, a device made entirely of stainless steel that allows the machine to maintain a constant temperature and carbonation before being poured into a glass.

Every Natura Water system comes with a selection of glass bottles in sizes up to 1 liter. These iconic bottles are available in thick frosted or translucent glass with embossed logo and chrome-colored cap with a red stripe. Not only stylish, these all-glass bottles are ideal for re-use and not prone to the deterioration and hazards involved in re-using disposable plastic bottles.

Certain restaurants — such as Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse — prefer to use their own glassware. The Berkeley, Calif., eatery was one of the first to remove all bottled water from its menu, serving instead its in-house filtered water in engraved crystal pitchers.

Several cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Salt Lake City have banned the purchase of bottled water at all city offices and are proactively trying to ban or tax the sale of all bottled water within city limits. Behind this campaign is the enormous carbon footprint involved in transporting bottles like Perrier, Evian and San Pellegrino from places as far away as Italy and France.

“The transportation, the pollution, the recycling costs — there is nothing wrong with drinking water where it is made,” says Natura co-founder Marco de Plano, “but it is wrong to transport it and subsidize it all.”

Of the 30 million bottles of water consumed every year, about four-fifths of those plastic bottles end up in local trash containers that are then picked up by gas-guzzling garbage trucks and deposited in the country’s overflowing landfills, according to a report from ABC News.

Getting the Natura Water system in the hands of residential clients is the next step. Right now, the cost and installation of the machine makes it practical only for households drinking lots of water. A recent quote in the Los Angeles area for an entry-level residential water system was $4,800 with an additional $300 for installation. If a family of four is drinking three liters of water a day, it would take a bit more than a year for the family to recoup the cost of the machine (based on an average of 99 cents per bottle of water). But taking into account the amount of shopping time and gas spent to and from the grocery store, the savings could be greater.

Installing the Natura Water system in restaurants makes for a strong argument. It saves on delivery charges and space rental while delivering an environmental message to patrons one glass of water at a time. Perhaps that’s why restaurants such as Le Bernardin, Le Cirque, the Palace Hotel and Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel all have joined this water revolution.


Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com — a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.’s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.

New Water Purification System

August 10th, 2008

Tony LaRocco, owner of VITA, ihas installed the state-of-the-art Natura system in his Buckhead restaurant. This new water purification system allows VITA to offer quality drinking water while also helping the environment. VITA is one of only four  restaurants in the city that have installed the Natura system, which has just launched in the Atlanta market.

The Natura system is a water purification system that uses both high-grade carbon filters and UV technology to eliminate impurities and bacteria while retaining healthy, thirst quenching minerals. More specifically, these filters reduce chlorine compounds, particles and heavy metals while retaining magnesium, zinc, calcium, and all good, thirst quenching minerals.

The Natura system offers all of the benefits of purified, great-tasting chilled or sparkling water without the need to store, chill or dispose of either plastic or glass bottles of the unsightly oversized plastic tanks that accompany most water dispensers. The patented system not only reduces costs for its clients, but also benefits the environment by replacing disposable plastic with reusable glass bottles and reducing carbon footprints by eliminating air travel and/or the need to truck heavy water bottles to their destinations. The resources invested in shipping, storing and serving water in disposable containers has a tremendous impact on the planet— more than 30 million plastic water bottles are disposed of every day in America, alone.

Atlanta INtown

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Eco-Friendly Founding Farmers Restaurant Grows in DC First LEED Gold-Designed, Green Restaurant to Open in the Nation’s Capital

August 8th, 2008

Last update: 1:22 p.m. EDT Aug. 8, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC, Aug 08, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) — According to the new 2009 Washington D.C./Baltimore Zagat Restaurants Survey guide, regional residents that dine out are clearly moving in a “greener” direction. Seventy percent of surveyors consider eating locally grown food important, while 62% will “pay more” for sustainably raised food. Ready to answer this growing hunger for more green living, new dining concept Founding Farmers will open in Washington, DC this September as an eco-friendly dining concept, with sustainable agriculture at the heart of the menu and a restaurant designed to meet Leadership in Energy Efficient Design (LEED) certification criteria and Green Restaurant Operational standards.

Developed by VSAG (Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group, www.vsag.com) in conjunction with a collective of more than 40,000 American Family Farmers, Founding Farmers ( www.wearefoundingfarmers.com) will serve fresh Farm-to-Table American-inspired true food and drink during breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday brunch and Sunday supper. The 8,500 square foot soaring space will accommodate approximately 250 seats, with a prominent location at 1924 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, in the recently completed IMF (International Monetary Fund) HQ2 building, just blocks from the White House.

“Founding Farmers is an exciting concept that is honestly derived from a great history of American farm culture and what it means to serve ‘true food,'” describes VSAG Principal Dan Simons. “I’m thrilled by the Zagat Survey news on eating green, which only affirms what we have been working on for years. It’s not about being trendy — we’re serving foods that help support the environment — and we are bringing the green movement right to the table.” VSAG will operate and manage the restaurant following the opening, monitoring Green practices at each turn.

Led by Chef Graham Duncan, the menus at Founding Farmers include all homemade traditional American classics inspired by the heartland made with sustainably farmed products and only in-season vegetables and fruits. Not ‘kitschy’ country cooking, the dishes include family farm favorites like fresh-baked biscuits, breads and pastries, omelettes, pancakes, and all the breakfast trimmings, big, hearty rustic farm sandwiches and soups, big, colorful green salads with just-picked vegetables, a variety of pot pies, prime cuts, pot roast, roasted chicken, and rich, delectable pies and desserts from the pastry bar, supplied by the in-house bakery. On the beverage side, Founding Farmers has an innovative bar program featuring ‘bar-chefing’ of classic cocktails and bar treats, small batch brewery beers and family-distilled Bourbons, and a wine list that includes organic wines harvested through sustainable viticulture, and popular varietals from both domestic and international vineyards.

Founding Farmers is the first restaurant in the District to seek the LEED Gold certification rating as determined by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and will also operate as a Green Certified Restaurant, with operational standards to reduce waste, recycle more, and practice earth-friendly food service.

As a Green Certified Restaurant, approved by the Green Restaurant Association, Founding Farmers will source locally and regionally whenever possible, and will follow strict guidelines for reducing energy use and waste, with management and staff learning the best earth-friendly practices such as water conservation and recycling. In the dining room, eco-friendly choices menus printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks, and housefiltered water that doesn’t come in throwaway bottles. The restaurant has invested in the state-of-the-art Natura(R) water system to provide guests with fresh-filtered, purified, mineral-filled, chilled sparkling and still water served in glass carafes to greatly reduce fuel costs and polluting emissions without truck deliveries, and to reduce tons of plastic and glass waste.

“At Founding Farmers we are offering fabulous, great tasting products and great service, and are doing all we can to protect the environment. We truly believe that we have created a new model to demonstrate that some profit should not be taken when the environmental impact is too great,” describes General Manager Ralph DeRose.

Washington, DC firm CORE architecture + design combined LEED requirements with innovative design with farm silo-shaped booth seating made of recycled steel, ‘PaperStone’ countertops in the restrooms, a natural color palette of earth tones in fabrics and finishes made with post-consumer content, reclaimed brick pavers and barn woods underfoot and for the long, communal farmhouse tables — all areas that guests will ‘touch.’ Other LEED criteria design elements and energy-efficient moves include the use of day lighting to illuminate the restaurant, increased ventilation, green-sourced power and low-VOC emitting paints.

More information will be made available on the Founding Farmers web site, www.wearefoundingfarmers.com, in the coming weeks.
Wall Street Journal

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San Francisco Restaurant Charges for Water Filtration

July 23rd, 2008

By Hannah Howard, July 23, 2008 at 8:15 PM
We are plagued by water hang-ups: bottled water obsessing, bottled water loathing, and recently, fees for filtered tap water. Eater SF reports that Millennium Restaurant in Nob Hill will soon charge guests a buck for water filtered through a nifty Natura carbon and UV filter. In case you’re wondering where that dollar is going, Millennium Restaurant explains that it’s for fancy filters, visits from water filter technicians, and the UV lightbulb maintenance.
When you spend twenty bucks on beautiful restaurant scallops, only a fraction of that money actually goes to the food cost. There’s labor, rent, and that classy plate on which your scallops lie. Not to mention last week’s emergency dishwasher repair, the air conditioning, and the linen service that delivers napkins to the restaurant. (But you don’t need to hear all that; the bill will suffice.) This charge applies the same philosophy; but is it fair for water? Should Millennium Restaurant just eat the cost? Er, drink.

http://www.seriouseats.com/

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Water Water Everywhere – Back to the Tap

July 11th, 2008

Bottled water is an important part of restaurant service and profits. But according to a recent exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, approximately a quarter bottle of oil is used in the creation, manufacturing and shipping of every bottle of water we drink. With the average North American drinking over 21 gallons of bottled water a year, this seemingly innocent consumption leaves a very large carbon footprint. So how can environmentally minded restaurateurs address this issue? Many have adapted by going, “local” and serving high-end tap water, which they filter and carbonate themselves.

For years, there have been filtration companies like California’s Seychelle, but its equipment only provided still water. While there are now water companies like Natura and Everpure that offer complete filtering and carbonation systems, previously, it was difficult for restaurateurs to find a way to add carbonation. Just over two years ago, when Berkeley’s legendary Chez Panisse first decided to filter and carbonate its own water, General Manager, Mike Kossa-Rienzi had to cobble together a system using components from McCann’s Engineering & Mfg. Co., a leader in the soft drink dispensing business.

Natura, based in Los Angeles, entered the water business in 2005 to offer a luxury product that is also socially conscious. The company uses a three-step water purification system, removing chlorine, particles and heavy metals, while retaining magnesium, zinc and calcium, minerals that help give water a nice taste. The water is first purified using two high-carbon filters and then by UV technology. Natura is currently the only company in the country consistently using UV lights to filter water. This UV process helps make the water 90 percent pure. By comparison, according to the company’s COO, Tim Gaglio, Pellegrino water is only 70 percent pure. The water’s journey begins in a stainless steel purification box that hosts a series of high-tech filters. It then goes through the UV radiation chamber. From there, the water flows through a refrigerationmachine that chills it.

Finally, it continues through a carbonation chamber where it may be converted to sparkling water. The water is served through three spigots, each offering a different type of water: room temperature still, cold still and cold carbonated.

Restaurants can control the amount of carbonation in water and a liter bottle can be filled within 8-10 seconds. Although Natura’s machines are for sale, they’re normally rented. Rental prices include regular monthly maintenance, installation, water testing and free reusable Natura-branded water bottles. For an added fee, Natura customers can have the bottles co-branded with their own logos. The only element Natura does not provide in its rental contracts are CO2 replacements.

As a principal in the company and also a restaurateur in his own right, Tim Gaglio explains why he believes in and uses Natura’s equipment in his own restaurants. “I now give better prices to diners for their water because filtering my own tap water costs me less money than bottled, so I can charge them less. I offer it to my employees as well, and not forced to pay large amounts of money to keep them in bottled water. With the co-branded bottles, I’m now promoting my own restaurant’s logo instead of Pellegrino’s. And finally, without having all the bottled water to store, I’ve freed up more storage space and am paying less for carting costs.”

John Riccardo, general manager of Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak in Miami, is also a fan of the system. “Here in Florida, most restaurants are forced to filter their water because our water source is so bad,” he says. “Natura is the best filtered water I’ve ever tasted. It is user friendly and the sparkling water option is cool.”

Natura water, which costs restaurants pennies a bottle to make, can be sold to diners at significant profit. The company gives its clients advice on how best to market it. The right sales pitch can turn diners who are unhappy about paying for what to them seems like “free” water, into customers who appreciate getting a good deal on water, while also doing their part to help the environment.

The landscape in the restaurant industry’s water environment is about to change, as Chicago’s Everpure will soon be giving Natura some strong competition. Everpure has been in the water business for 75 years and provides filtered water to international companies such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. This July, the company is adding to its product line the Exubera Pro Premium Carafe Water System, a product that carbonates and chills filtered tap water.

Everpure’s process is different than Natura’s. The company prefers to start with a detailed analysis of a restaurant’s water. It learns which chemicals and contaminates are present, then works with the client to determine what the water should taste like. The company’s senior marketing manager, Roy Parker, explains that minerals, alkalinity, chlorides, hardness and chlorine all affect water flavor, “How you choose to manipulate the water’s different attributes allows you to give your water a specific taste,” he says. The company can even work to make local water taste like a specific brand of bottled water, by choosing which minerals in what ratio to leave in the water.

For filtration, Everpure usually recommends either triple filtration or reverse osmosis. Triple filtration goes through carbon and membrane filtration. The carbon filters take out chemicals like chlorine and then the membrane filter takes out particles. Parker says that although Everpure does offer some UV filtering as a disinfectant, the company doesn’t feel it’s needed in the United States, since most municipal water here is already treated with chlorine.

The reverse osmosis system strips out everything from the water, creating clean but flat-tasting water. The process uses high pressure and ultra-fine membrane filters.

Everpure will only be selling its equipment at first, but may offer leasing options in the future. Like Natura, the company tries to make the process as easy as possible for clients. Its turnkey solution offers water testing, determination of how the water should be treated and machine installation. Also like Natura, Everpure will help restaurants train their waitstaff in how to best market the water to customers. Everpure can help set up arrangements with approved vendors for maintenance, CO2 and any merchandising of personalized carafes or coasters that a restaurant might want.

Water filtration and carbonation systems are great for the environment and in the long run can be economical. But if installing a system is currently beyond the means of your restaurant, and you’d like to take a smaller step toward going green, try switching from imported bottled water to a domestic brand. Water bottles in North America don’t use as much oil for shipping as those from other continents. Their source may not be as “local” as your tap, but they’re closer than Fiji. And, every bit helps.

NATURA – Despite the many chambers Natura water travels through, units are relatively compact. The average restaurant-sized machine runs approximately 18.5” x 11” x 18” and weighs about 70 pounds. The company currently makes six models in various sizes and weights, including a small unit for homes and a large mobile unit for catering offsite events. While machines can be purchased, Natura usually rents its products. Typical restaurant-sized machines rent for a monthly fee of between $450 and $550.

EVERPURE – Everpure offers both under- and over-the-counter Exubera Pro Premium Carafe Water Systems for carbonation. The under-the -counter’s dimensions are 20” x 14” x 24” because it has its own elegant faucets attached. The filtration systems, which come separately, run approximately 26” x 21” x 6,” but do not have to be mounted near the Exubera Pro. Initially, Everpure is only selling its equipment, but may offer a leasing option in the future. Prices range from $3,500 to $5,500 for Exubera Pro models. Filtration system run another $700 to $1,500, depending on the type and level of filtration needed.

Food & Beverage Magazine

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DRINK RESPONSIBLY

July 7th, 2008

NATURA WATER SYSTEM PROVIDES A TASTY, ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY SOLUTION TO BOTTLED WATER

With growing awareness of its environmental cost and a relatively new five-cent tax on it here in Chicago, bottled water is causing Americans to increasingly look for alternatives. Natura has found a solution: a water purification system—with high-grade carbon filters and innovative UV technology—that produces water with the taste of bottled water, but with the environmental benefits of tap water.

“The time for this product is now. Everyday you see the bad news associated with the problem of plastic and even glass bottles,” says Marco de Plano, co-founder of Natura.“ The transportation, the pollution, the recycling costs—there is nothing wrong with drinking water where it is made, but it is wrong to transport it and subsidize it all.”

Inspired by already-existing technology in Italy, de Plano and his partner, Giancarlo Fantappiè, were surprised to find that nothing similar existed in the U.S. and decided to launch Natura in 2005. De Plano emphasizes that “Natura is water how nature intended,” as it removes impurities, such as chlorine, while retaining all the healthy minerals. With the company rapidly expanding, they have installed systems in many of the nation’s top restaurants and hotels, including Chicago’s A Mano, the Peninsula Hotel and recently opened Graham Elliot.

De Plano hopes a “smaller, more affordable” household model will be on the market within a year. “ There is nothing else like it on the market,” de Plano says. “I’m sure eventually there will be competitors, but right now we’ll put everything else to shame.”

–jennifer whittam

The “New” Water

June 11th, 2008

What’s on tap at the swankiest dining spots New York’s Waverly Inn & Garden restaurant is so exclusive that it has no publicly available phone number for making reservations.

But that’s not the only restaurant staple they bypass. According to the restaurant’s chef and partner, John De Lucie, it will soon stop serving commercially bottle water as well. The Waverly is one of a growing number of American restaurants starting to serve its own filtered tap water as an alternative to bottled water in order to reduce its carbon footprint.

Drinking bottled water may seem like a green option, but The Natural Resources Defense Council has calculated that 4,000 tons of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are emitted in the transportation of bottle water from France, Italy and Fiji to the United States. Furthermore, 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to make water bottles from polyethylene terephthalate and 86 percent of those are then land-filled or incinerated. Concerned over these statistics, restaurants around the country are now looking for more environmentally friendly options than serving traditional bottled water.

Two of the trend’s pioneers are found in the Bay Area, a region historically known for its cutting-edge environmental practices. Five years ago, San Francisco’s Incanto and Sausalito’s Poggio restaurants decided to serve only filtered still and sparkling waters. Incanto’s Dining Manager Zane Fiala explains, “Our owner, Mark Pastore, wanted us to offer something that was more sustainable and that would not hurt the environment.”

Their choices lead the way for others. Two years ago, across the bay in Berkley, Alice Water’s legendary Chez Panisse restaurant followed suit. General Manager Mike Kossa-Rienzi was bothered by the fact that although the restaurant had been filtering its tap water for more than a decade, it was still having 25 cases of bottled water delivered each week. He turned to Incanto for advice on how to carbonate filtered water. After much research, Chez Panisse set up its own system. “Serving our own bottled waters is good for the environment. It also takes less space in the restaurant … It was just something that we felt we needed to do,” Kossa-Rienzi explains.

Although the green initiative to replace bottled water started on the West Coast, it quickly moved east. In New York, it’s now impossible to order commerically bottled water in a number of restaurants, including bobo, Broadway East and Gemma in the Bowery Hotel. Gemma is owned by Waverly Inn & Garden’s Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, a duo known for taking a pro-environmental stance in their establishments.

Another extremely high-profile restaurant that will soon be joining New York’s no-bottled water brigade is Del Posto. Owners Mario Batalli and Joe Bastianich plan to stop selling bottled water by the end of the summer. This will be the first establishment in their restaurant group to make that switch.

Rumor has it that the owners of Del Posto have yet to decide on the proper containers for serving their house-filtered water. Perhaps they should look to those who have filtered before them for ideas. Incanto serves water in plain reusable carafes. Chez Panisse also has reusable decanters, but with the restaurant’s logo etched on the side. bobo is known for its recycled glass carafes designed by Artecnica as part of that company’s Design With Conscience campaign. And Gemma actually bottles its water in reusable bottles that are carbon painted with descriptions of the water, followed by the words “Bottled at the source – The Bowery, New York City.”

TO CHARGE OR NOT TO CHARGE

While going green is a positive moral choice, choosing to not sell commercially bottled water can negatively impact a restaurant’s bottom line. Water purchased for $1 or $2 a bottle can be sold for five times that amount, a cash cow for restaurants. Establishments serving plain filtered water are faced with the decision of whether or not to charge for it to make up for lost profits.

Some restaurants like Incanto, Poggio and Chicago’s Dinotto Ristorante serve free filtered water to customers. Chez Panisse does so as well. Kossa-Rienzi explains that serving To keep all customers happy, however, the restaurant continues to sell traditionally bottled water along with the filtered. Myers realizes, “It will take a bit of time before it fully takes over and people adjust to the idea.” As for the technical side of the filtered water switch, in-house filtering and carbonation is still a relatively uncommon process in the restaurant world, so these pioneering establishments have had to find their own way using a variety of different systems.

Chez Panisse gets its equipment from McCann’s Engineering and Manufacturing. While some restaurants use a filtration process where all components including the holding tank, carbon pump and cold plate are selfcontained in one unit, Chez Panisse keeps its system in separate parts due to spatial constraints.

bobo, Dinotto Ristorante and Forté Di Asprinio all use Natura Water purification system. Forté Di Asprinio’s Myers likes this system because he can control the water’s level of “sparkle.” Since the bottled water his establishment carries has a finer bubble, he uses the Natura system to give house water a stronger level of carbonation. He proudly says, “Three of us at the restaurant have a background as sommeliers and we all feel that if you did a blind taste test, our house water would stand up to commercially bottled waters.”

Gemma restaurant uses two systems of filtration for customers. Still water is run through a reverse osmosis system. This pulls out the particles, leaving just oxygen and hydrogen, and makes for a “super clean” taste. Eric Rosenfeld says he likes being able to showcase this method because it is one that can be used anywhere in the developing world, alleviating the need for bottled water in impoverished nations.

Gemma’s carbonated water is filtered differently. It goes through a triple filtration system, which leaves in some minerals to keep it tasting “crisp.” Both of the restaurant’s systems come from a company called Everpure and use Alliance Waters for installation and monitoring.

Food & Beverage Magazine

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Chicago Tribune.com : The Stew Food & Dining Blog

May 19th, 2008

Restaurant eco-effort 1: Bottled water Posted by Monica Eng at 6:45 p.m. CDT As more restaurants stop serving bottled water for ecological reasons, new solutions are popping up that allow them to serve their own house-filtered and carbonated water. One of them is Natura water purification systems. Already used in spots such as Di Notto, Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and the Peninsula Hotel, the system was attracting plenty of new customers at the restaurant show’s Green Pavillion. And in keeping with the the theme of the NRA press conference May 19, Natura spokesperson Marco De Plano emphasized that getting rid of outside bottled water doesn’t mean that a restaurant’s water revenue stream will dry up. “We encourage them to sell it,” he said. “It’s as good as many bottled waters out there. Some sell Natura bottled water for $8 a bottle.” This way, restaurants can wash the refillable glass bottles in their dishwashers and serve Chicago sink juice for a profit and still feel good about the environment. But we have to say that this option only makes us appreciate spots such as A Mano and Osteria via Stato that serve it free even more. De Plano hopes to have a home use system available within a year.

The Stew
Chicago Tribune

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