Monday June 25, 2012

Brooklyn Water Bagel Company

Brooklyn Water Bagel Company was opening in the hideous shopping complex at 5th and Alton just as I was moving off South Beach last year. It looked interesting. It turns out that Brooklyn Water Bagel’s marketing gimmick is not that they operate tanker trucks that ship municipal New York water down to Florida to make bagels in. This would have been an impressive endeavor, and would have allowed us to test whether, as is often stated, the unique mineral composition and pH of the municipal source up there truly makes it impossible to replicate their bagels down here. It turns out, instead, that Brookly Water Bagel’s marketing gimmick is a large contraption called a Brooklynizer, which uses a complicated process to do something or other to our water to make it more like their water. This will make more sense when you hear that BWBC is franchise operation with a fairly short history and origins in Delray Beach. If you’re working on a franchise model, lots of proprietary equipment that you can sell to your franchisees is exactly what the doctor ordered.

brooklynizer I stopped by the South Beach BWBC. (There’s also one in Broward, on Stirling Road.) The Brooklynizer is on display in its own glassed-in room, right by the front door. Also visible from the dining room is the “Bagel Staging Area” with a bagel forming machine and lots of other impressive stuff. It would be fun to sit there and watch them make bagels, and if I were the franchisee I would install high tables to accomodate this. (The Brooklinized water also goes into the soda fountain, so you can try a Brooklynized Coke.)

This is an “order at the counter and we’ll bring the food out to you when it’s ready” type-place, and most of the food is Einstein Bros-style bagel sandwiches. I had egg and sausage, and the fillings were extremely unimpressive: the whole thing came in one pre-made lump that was considerably smaller in diameter than the bagel. In face, most of the sausage patty was actually in the hole area of the bagel. bagel In my non-New-Yorker and therefore extremely uninformed and irrelevant opinion, the bagel itself was actually pretty good. Not too big, but a nice chewy texture, a pleasant ryeness, and a not completely tangible texture that made it pretty satisfying. Not by any stretch the best bagel in Miami, but also not ignominious after the herculean hype. (There was a minor ordering fiasco when Hillary got a turkey egg and cheese bagel and they asked her what kind of cheese she wanted. Note the wording: “Can I have cream cheese?” “What kind?” “Umm, veggie?” The bill arrived, and under her bagel it said “- No cheese” “+ Veggie Cream Cheese” with an extra $2.99 charge on a $4.99 sandwich. To my mind, you’d warn people when they’re about to nearly-double the cost of their order with a modification that one could reasonably assume would be free. That said, it was an extremely generous schmear.)

The coffee situation is the multiple-roast self-serve system you’ve seen, again, at Einstein’s et. al., and the dark roast will satisfy all but true coffee aficionados. The iced coffee is also self-service, but the cup you get comes filled with frozen coffee cubes, which is a nice touch. On each table are napkin holders with Water Facts printed on them. One is “Anything that you cannot see through in an ice cube is sediment,” which I am pretty sure is profligate nonsense — the parts of an ice cube you can’t see through is trapped air bubbles. After all the water fetishization you’d think that BWBC would prioritize facts over aquatic fear-mongering.

But the bagel is good. I would try it again, especially if I were picking up a dozen bagels to bring somewhere for brunch, and I would recommend it with reservations to a friend.

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