If you thought you tasted something unusual in the water at Tin Angel, you probably did. But in fact, that something was more likely nothing. Tin Angel owner Rick Bolsom has caught the wave of filtered water, a trend that is trickling into the dining industry via food-forward centers such as California and New York. Bolsom recently installed a $4,000 CUNO multi-filter system that scrubs any water used in restaurant beverages, i.e. coffee, tea, bar soda and ice.
Folks like Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters champion filtered water—part of the rising effort to "green" the restaurant industry—as a way to cut down on the environmental drain associated with the transportation and disposal of water bottles. But while drinking local water may cut down on the landfill, some business owners argue it will also cut into their bottom lines, as many restaurants enjoy exorbitant markups on Pellegrino, Perrier, Fiji and other designer waters. Bolsom says he hasn't raised any prices to compensate for the loss of bottled water sales.
So here's the $4,000 question: is it worth it?
"I can taste the difference," Bolsom says, "just like I can smell the difference now that we've been non-smoking for almost a year."