Young and Hungry

This Week’s Cover Story: Something in the Water

New Yorkers like to boast that it's the water that makes their bagels and pizza so good. In this week's cover story, I ask: Can D.C. create the same sense of pride in the tap water here?

The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (now known as DC Water) thinks so. It's embarked on a new campaign to promote restaurants and breweries that use local tap in their food and brews. This comes less than a decade after findings of dangerously high lead levels in the drinking water scandalized the agency.

The story delves into DC Water's efforts to spiff up its image. Leading the way is the utility's general manager of three years, George Hawkins, who wants to market the water more like Nike than a public works department. Owners of The Pretzel Bakery in Capitol Hill and brewery DC Brau explain why they brag about the water in their products, while long-time Washington baker Mark Furstenberg calls it "vile" and 3 Pizanos prefers to import the water for its pizza dough from New York.

Can "made with D.C. tap water" become a culinary selling point? Check out the story, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Cook In / Dine Out

    Great story. Was it your first on the cover? I appreciated the look into the question about whether a water's origin really makes a difference in cooking as some claim it does. I always found the assertion that pizza isn't as good outside of New York because of the water to be a bit suspect. The restaurant that "imports" its pizza dough water from New York seems to be a bit extreme. Plenty of other places in DC make good pizza without doing so. Yay for Tiffany MacIsaac's defense!

  • Jon

    Funny that you mention 3 Pizanos "importing" their water from New York, since they buy bottled water from Walmart. Just go in there in the afternoon and you can see the owner quickly trying to hide the bottles! Hahah!

  • Joey


    Everything about DC is a copy !

    Nothing original, yes the bagels and pizza taste better
    with NY tap. They also make real good NY pizza in NY
    with only one or two pizza places in DC that can claim
    close to NYC.

  • Joey

    Another thing in the water is, the tainted possibility
    of being more corrupted, than even a thief would like to be.

    or getting a Gray Complex. or Barry Madness.