Historic NY spring water popular with local diners

By Howard Schaffer….

Pictured with the cobalt blue Saratoga Spring Water bottle is Ernesto Plagata, general manager of Ortanique on The Mile of Coral Gables.

With a seasonal home here in South Florida, CEO Adam Madkour of the famed Saratoga Spring Water Company continues to nurture the bond he shares with South Florida restaurant operators and aficionados of fine dining.
The natural springs in Upstate New York, where folks once traveled from throughout the world to “take the cure” in the clear cold water, is where Saratoga Spring Water originated. It is one of the world’s first bottled waters, and after 138 years remains committed to offering the finest bottled water from deep beneath the lush Adirondack foothills.
While there are approximately 1,500 miles between Saratoga Springs, NY, and Miami, the number of “New York transplants” are many. In fact, in 2006 alone, more than 100,000 New Yorkers became permanent Floridians.
It can be said it is the same with bottled water. Countless restaurants and food service operators throughout South Florida see the value and demand for the noticeable blue bottle.
“Some might question why we get our sparkling water all the way from New York,” said Robin Seger, who with her husband, Patrick Farnault, is owner/operator of Sugar Reef Grill in Hollywood Beach. “After they taste Saratoga Spring Water on our beach-side patio, they realize it’s the only thing you can drink in this oasis. Its cobalt blue bottle also matches our Sugar Reef mosaic tiles.”
Many eateries have a variety of wines, beers, and soft drinks, but not always water. Restaurant owners and managers in the foodservice industry are beginning to provide a large number of bottled water brands for their beverage menus. Restaurant operators believe customers see a water menu as a differentiating factor and something that attracts the high-end, trend-setting clientele.
“For us, selling bottled water isn’t necessarily about the profit,” said Ernesto Plagata, general manager of Ortanique on The Mile of Coral Gables, who made mention of this key factor. “Restaurant patrons frequently look for a brand name label on their water bottles. Customers love it, especially the sparkling drink which has a very clean flavor, which goes so well with our food.”
Madkour observes that Floridians have a genuine appreciation for the famed blue-bottled specialty, noting that out of all 50 states nationwide, Florida restaurants have a greater frequency of re-orders than that of any other state in the union.
“As long as people keep drinking Saratoga, we’ll keep supplying for hopefully another 138 years,” he said.
For more information about Saratoga Spring Water visit online at www.saratogaspringwater.com.

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