Mike Burke, owner of Staten Island, N.Y., staple Denino’s Pizza, decided to expand to Brick a few years ago, only to realize in short order the pizza produced there just wasn’t the same despite identical ingredients.
The problem: the water. New York’s comes from a system of reservoirs 125 miles north.
To remedy the issue, Burke started transporting water and ice from Staten Island to Brick to make pizza dough and sauce, upward of 15 gallons every other day.
This inconvenient, though effective, process continued until last year. That’s when Burke was approached by Paul Errigo about a product he developed at his company in Belleville — New York Watermaker, billed as the world’s first water-replication system.
“It literally changes the molecular structure of any water source to match the properties and characteristics of another one,” Errigo said. “We can replicate any water, but to go to market we named it ‘New York’ since it’s seen as the gold standard, the champagne of drinking water.”
Characteristics such as alkalinity, pH levels, water hardness and chemical structure can be replicated by the patent-pending system. Minerals and nutrients also can be replicated to attain the right taste and smell.
That can be vital for the making of certain baked goods such as bagels, as well as for New York-style pizza. But New York Watermaker also functions as a filtration and disinfection system.
“It reduces the water’s microbial count to zero,” Errigo said. “More and more, water quality is becoming an issue. All different parts of the country have different types of bacteria. Our system kills it all.”
Burke agreed to let Errigo and his team install a prototype machine. He was stunned with the results.
“Seriously, no one can tell the difference,” Burke enthused. “It’s keeping the product exactly the same as with the water we were shipping in.”
Seeking to expand, Burke purchased two more machines. The additional systems will arrive in April, when New York Watermaker officially hits the market.
The new machines have improved upon the prototype, and now feature a compact 24- by 35- by 16.5-inch design.
“Commercial kitchens are always pressed for space,” Errigo said. “Protecting the water is necessary in most commercial kitchens around the world, and now this can be hung on the wall or hid under the counter.”
Its public unveiling is set for March 19 at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Keen interest is expected, as some pizza shops ship water across the U.S. or even beyond.
PMQ Pizza Magazine reported in 2014 that a pizzeria near San Diego ships in more than 3,000 gallons of New York water each year. And the New York Post touted a pizza business in Ghana that’s going to similar efforts for its H2O.
“For big pizza franchises, product consistency is important,” Errigo said.
And if pizza businesses now can have consistency in their water, so too others, he adds.
“Microbreweries, coffeehouses, their main source is water,” Errigo said. “They all use water. Those are future industries for us.”
For now, New York Watermaker is putting its marketing focus on makers of pizza, bagels and bread.
“But the more people that we talk to about it, the more people seem to need it,” Errigo said. “I truly believe it’s going to revolutionize the culinary world.”