Brooklyn Water Brings Bagels to Miami
Miami has been a tourist destination for New Yorkers since the early 1900s, which means we’ve been hearing how much better it is in New York for more than a century now.
But despite how better it is in the Big Apple, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers ended up staying here for good.
And that still didn’t stop them from kvetching about the quality of our bagels.
And that’s despite the fact that Miami Beach has been a Jewish stronghold for decades.
The problem apparently lies in the water. Or lack of it.
The reason New York bagels (and pizza) are so good is supposedly because of the chemical make-up of the water in the reservoirs in upstate New York, which supply most of the tap water to New York City, making it the largest unfiltered water system in the country.
New York water is much softer than water you’ll find in Florida or almost anywhere else around the country.
So even a bagel maven who honed his skills in New York would be unable to duplicate the bagels in Miami without the New York water. So they say.
But now there are two bagel shops in Miami that claim to use New York water in their bagels or more precisely, Brooklyn water.
The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co., which opened last week on South Beach, has an elaborate system where they take Miami water and convert it into Brooklyn water as they explain in the above video.
And Brooklyn Bagels, which opened last year in Midtown, say they truck the water in from Brooklyn twice a month as they explain in the video below.
As a guy who grew up in a Cuban neighborhood in Miami, I prefer toasted buttered Cuban bread (or what we call tostada) over a bagel for breakfast, so I admit I’m not the higher authority on this subject.
However, I did bring fellow Miami Beach 411 writer Matt Meltzer with me to review the two above bagel shops.
Although Matt grew up in California, he is Jewish. He also has a habit of keeping lard out of his body, which doesn’t make him a huge fan of Cuban bread.
So even though he is not a transplanted New Yorker, we’ll give him some say in the great bagel debate.
Matt preferred Brooklyn Bagels. I preferred the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.
This is what Matt said:
Personally, I found the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. to have the better tasting bagels. They just had more flavor.
But I should also acknowledge they went out of their way to accommodate us within two days of opening because they knew we were media.
In fact, they invited several tweeters to lunch last week, feeding us an assortment of single bagels, bagel sandwiches, bagel pizzas, muffins, iced coffee and egg creams.
And after an hour of this feast, they sent us each home with a half-dozen assorted bagels to continue stuffing our faces.
I really don’t have anything to compare it to because I tend to stuff my face with pizza instead of bagels when I’m in New York (as well as the occasional corned beef on rye), but the bagels I had at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. were probably the best bagels I’ve ever had (which pretty much amounts to Lender’s and Einstein’s).
Matt and I would have crowned them the Brooklyn bagel champions on their hospitality alone, but we owed it to our readers to trek across the causeway to Midtown to try out Brooklyn Bagels two days later.
We were pretty much sick of bagels at this point, so we only ordered one bagel each. They had no idea we were conducting journalistic research until after we sat down and started eating our bagels.
That’s when they explained to us that they ship in the water from Brooklyn by the truckload twice a month.
That seems like a costly effort, but Brooklyn Bagels still manages to sell a cheaper bagel than their cross-bay counterparts ($1.09 per bagel compared to $1.29).
They also seem to serve their neighborhood nicely, judging by reviews on Yelp.
One reviewer who said he had lived in Brooklyn said it was just as good as what he used to eat in Brooklyn. Another reviewer said it was better than Einstein’s but not as good as what you would find in New York. And another reviewer said it was below average.
The Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. is so new it only has one Yelp review as of this writing. But it’s an ideal location for South Beach residents.
Brooklyn Bagels is also family-owned where you will find the owners behind the counter while the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. is a national corporation with shops in California, Maryland and Florida (although this is the first in Miami-Dade).
We also had planned to check out Bagel Time on Alton Road and 39th St., an area that is known as Little Tel Aviv , but it was Saturday or Shabbat, which is a day of rest for Orthodox Jews, so they were closed.
But Miami Beach 411 contributor Fred Garvin, who is Jewish and from Chicago (which means he has also been kvetching about the bagels down here), said Bagel Time is not that great. He actually prefers the bagels at Epicure on Alton Road and 16th St.
So I can’t wait until he tries out these places.
The Original Brooklyn Bagel Co.
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"Brooklyn Water Brings Bagels to Miami"