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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.

Two New Bagel Shops

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:

Honestly I think Brooklyn Bagels were better. Like if you were just getting a bunch of bagels for and event or a Bar Mitzvah or something I’d go there. However the setup at Brooklyn Water Bagel was really cool, with the open kitchen and the water treatment center. And the coffee and sandwich selection was better. So if i were picking a place to have lunch, I’d go there. If I just want bagels, I’d go to midtown.

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.

Above: Local tweeter Olee Fowler was part of the public relations invites to the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. last week.

Social Media Schmooze Fest

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.

Above: Local tweeter Aubrey Swanson was part of the public relations invites to Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. last week.

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.
1119 5th St.
Miami Beach, Fl.
(305) 674-7425

Brooklyn Bagels
3451 NE 1st Ave
Unit 103
Miami, FL 33137
(786) 453-0225

Above: Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. uses coffee cubes for their iced coffee, both which are made with converted Brooklyn water.

Above: The chocolate chip muffins at Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. are highly recommended.



Above: Bagel sandwiches and pizza at Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.

Above: Egg cream

Related Categories: Miami: Food & Restaurant News, Miami: Things to Do,

Carlos Miller is a featured writer at Miami Beach 411. He also operates Photography is Not a Crime, a blog about photographer rights, New Media and First Amendment issues.

See more articles by Carlos Miller.

See more articles by Carlos Miller

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11 Comments on

"Brooklyn Water Brings Bagels to Miami"

fredgarvin says:

Great story, Carlos!  Remember, I have not yet tried these places, so Epicure was NOT compared to anything but Lenders and Einstein’s.  The encouraging thing is that at the place you mention, the bagels are boiled, not steamed.  As a native of the city of broad shoulders (and real bagels) I can assure you that this method, and not nyc water is the most important part. (Besides, everyone knows Lake Michigan is BEST!!)

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 6:16 AM

UTS says:

Did you get a chance to sample the lox ?  In my opinion, it’s a bagel’s soul mate

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 11:17 AM

Carlos Miller says:

No, they didn’t give us lox at the Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. and we didn’t order it at Brooklyn Bagels.

You have to check it out next time you’re down and give us a report.

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 1:20 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

I called my mom, who’s from East New York, today and told her about this place that cliamed to use authentic Brooklyn Water. Once she got done laughing she was like

“Are you SERIOUS?! They’re claiming to use BROOKLYN tap water?! Why on Earth would anyone want to claim to do THAT?! I don’t remember bagels being any better in Brooklyn than they were in Oakland.”

She then went on to tell me how awful the Bialy’s were at the bagel shops in Seattle, and they were nothing like the ones she used to get in New York.

But to her credit, she did not ONCE mention the water. The point is, from the persepctive of a New Yorker who is not perpetually trying to tell everybody how much better it is in “The City,” the water thing is pretty much a load of crap. Which I’m inclined to believe.

FG is right. I think the boiling is what makes the difference. No matter what kind of water you use.

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 11:16 PM

Carlos Miller says:

I do believe the water theory because I’ve seen it played out with the pizza. The crust on a good NY slice of pizza has a very light, airy texture that it’s hard to find elsewhere.

Obviously, the quality of the cheese and sauce also plays a role, but it really starts off with the dough. If the dough sucks, then you’re pizza is doomed.

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 11:24 PM

Under the Sun says:

For whatever it’s worth, they used to sell NYC tap water in bottles. My father gew up in the city. He always used to rave about the water. That was a long time ago though.

Posted on 05/18/2011 at 7:59 AM

Under the Sun says:

Whatever happened to NY Seltzer Water. That was a fad during the 80’s

Posted on 05/18/2011 at 8:27 AM

Christy says:

Finally, real bagels in Miami! It’s kinda cute but gimmicky that they bring in their own water..but whether it’s the water or not, they are at least aware that good bagels come form nyc and from the pics, they look really good. Carlos, NY pizzeria style pizza is crap. I’d rather have it from Fratelli Buffala. It all depends on what kind of crust you like though. The real question is does this place deliver a fresh squeezed OJ, bottle of water, iced coffee, and a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel at noon when you’re hung over?

Posted on 05/18/2011 at 10:18 AM

Siem Reap says:

What exactly makes the water different from that in NY? Is it the level of Calcium in the water?

Posted on 05/18/2011 at 4:50 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Bum urine. That’s the secret ingredient in the NYC water.

BWB is open 24 hours on the weekends, though I don’t beleive they have delivery.

Posted on 05/19/2011 at 4:42 PM

michael says:

BWB South Beach now delivers and caters!

Posted on 08/28/2011 at 7:48 AM

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