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Soda fountains slowly lost their fizz.
Their comeback started a few years ago when a handful of entrepreneurs around the country began marketing soda fountains as retro-hip. Places like the Franklin Fountain in Philadelphia and the Brooklyn Pharmacy & Soda Fountain in New York City revived the romanticism of the soft drink.
Eat Street Social was the first local establishment to jump into the neo-soda market. As one of the owners of the Bittercube bitters company, Kosevich was a natural to tackle the project.
“It takes two weeks to train a bartender to do this,” he said as he mixed up an Orange Dream (vanilla-orange syrup, vanilla beans, fresh cranberry, orange peel, granulated sugar, whole milk and orange bitters topped with shot of carbonated water).
Prices around town vary from $3 to $5.
Fresh ingredients are key. Eat Street Social, for instance, uses repurposed sushi coolers to store and display the ingredients on the bar. They also rotate the soda menu based on which ingredients are available each season.
The soda servers also herald the drinks’ lack of preservatives.
“The fact that we don’t use processed syrups is a big draw,” Miller said of his brewery-based sodas. “It’s just like the crafted beers — we want to make it special.”
That distinction is a big part of the allure, especially with the mass-market soft-drink industry coming under increasing pressure from critics who blame soda for everything from obesity to depression to bad teeth.
“People are becoming more concerned about what they put in their bodies,” said Lynden, who offers sodas made with real syrups rather than the high-fructose variety.
While quality ingredients might attract some customers, Lynden acknowledged what is probably the main reason for the soda fountain revival:
Jeff Strickler • 612-673-7392